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Jun 29, 2000

Cuban ambassador says U.S. draft changes nothing

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For the past forty years, there has been a trade embargo levied against the island of Cuba by the United States Government. But on Tuesday it looked like things might be changing, and for the better, for the Cuban people. The U.S. government announced that it had approved a document that would allow food and medicine to be exported to Cuba. However, when News Five contacted the Cuban Embassy in Belize for their comment, Ambassador Regla Diaz Hernandez told us for all intents and purposes, the draft will not bring any benefits to her homeland.

Regla Diaz Hernandez, Cuban Ambassador to Belize

“So, they approve the freedom or liberalization of exports of food and medicine to Cuba and it seems to be a fair measure, but at the same time, they maintain intact in the same way in the previous measures of economic and financial blockade against Cuba. This means Cuba cannot maintain credits. Cuba cannot pay this, for these exports in American currency. In fact, there is no way to send these shipments to Cuba because you know boats from any part of the world that get in Cuban ports are sanctioned and they cannot go back to American harbors. Besides they take other discriminatory measures, for instance, prohibition of access of the business community and citizens to Cuba. We think that how is it possible, in this environment, to develop normal relations, so that in fact trade of medicines and food could arrive in Cuba. We think that the essence of the problem is not solved. And little or nothing…no benefits will be seen at the end. Besides as I said before, it is a license that will be issued annually, so every year the president of the USA will have to approve it. It means that it will be subjected to political criteria. We think that the blockade against Cuba has been brutal. This has caused to the Cuban economy 67 billion American dollars.”

The Ambassador says for the past eight years, many countries, including Belize have objected to the trade embargo. On a more uplifting note, the Cuban Government is offering five scholarships for degrees in physical education to Belizean students. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 and possess a sixth form degree and should be in good physical health. Interested persons must present a resume and references to the National Sports Council no later than July 10th.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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