New US Measures towards Cuba Take Effect

Prensa Latina

The new White House measures towards Cuba, taking effect today, allow the granting of loans and make travels more flexible for the Americans to the Caribbean nation, although they maintain the economic, commercial and financial blockade. Those regulations were jointly released yesterday by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury, and the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

USA Today, The New York Times, the major television networks and other American media reflected the news, and highlighted the impact in the future of the bilateral relations.

For its part, James Williams, president of Engage Cuba organization, promoter for the lifting of the unilateral sanctions against Cuba, expressed satisfactions for the provisions by the northern nation's authorities.

"It is time for the Congress to eliminate the blockade, a policy that has been a colossal failure for 50 years," Williams added.

According to experts, the ordinances are on the right path but they are at the same time insufficient, and show that Obama has the power to eliminate substantial elements of the anti-Cuba sanctions, although the Congress is the only one that can lift the blockade in its entirety.

Those measure authorizes the granting of loans to Cuba to pay certain exports -excluding agricultural products- from the United States but at the same time leave intact the ban to the Caribbean nation of using U.S. dollar in international transactions.

On the other hand, those measures extend the possibilities to travel to Cuba those who operate or provide services on ships and aircrafts, which is in line with the recent preliminary agreements between the two sides for the resumption of the commercial flights.

But the provisions reveal a fundamental objective of the Washington policy, which is to try with new methods the change of the Cuban socio-political system, something that was unable to do for more than 50 years with a strategy the White House recognizes was a total failure.

However, those measures, taking effect today, encourage those who expect that Obama uses his executive powers and lifts the majority of the restrictions preventing improve the ties between the two nations.

Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, and their respective Sections of Interest became embassies, a fact marking the beginning of a long process towards the normalization of bilateral ties.

Cuban authorities consider that the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by Washington more than five decades is the main obstacle to concrete normal ties.