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Tuesday, 21 September 2010 11:13

Embargo is now tighter, Cuba says of U.S. trade

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Cuba says the U.S. trade embargo against the island has toughened under President Barack Obama.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said Wednesday that enforcement of the 48-year embargo, which Havana calls a "blockade," has become stricter in some areas. He said since Obama took office, the United States has levied larger fines and applied sanctions more vigorously.

Rodríguez said the embargo has cost the island $751 billion and Obama has not lived up to expectations for U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Last year, President Obama called for a new beginning in relations with Cuba and eased restrictions on travel and money transfers by Cuban-Americans to family in Cuba.  However, he left the trade embargo in place, saying it is up to Cuba to take the next step.

The United States and Cuba do not have diplomatic relations.  They have interests sections that are technically part of the Swiss embassies in each other's capitals.

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