World Bulletin/News Desk
While the White House has not ruled out Cuban President Raul Castro coming to Washington, or President Barack Obama going to Havana, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Speaking to reporters at an annual year-end press conference, Obama said, “We're not at a stage here where me visiting Cuba, or President Castro coming to the United States is in the cards.”
The 53-year-old president stressed that he is a “fairly young man,” and he imagines that at some point he “will have the opportunity to visit Cuba and enjoy interacting with the Cuban people.”
Obama lauded the recent resumption of diplomatic activity between the longtime foes, saying that it provides an opportunity for the U.S. to more effective lobby for rights in the country.
“But the point is that we will be in a better position, I think, to actually have some influence, and there may be carrots as well as sticks that we can then apply,” he said.
He added that the combination of increased travel to the country and wider access to telecommunications, including the Internet, will help to boost freedoms in the country.
“Over time, that chips away at this hermetically sealed society, and I believe offers the best prospect then, of leading to greater freedom, greater self-determination on the part of the Cuban people,” he said.
Still, he cautioned that a long-established embargo on the country will not be easily removed, due in part to congressional opposition.
“I think that ultimately we need to go ahead and pull down the embargo, which I think has been self-defeating in advancing the aims that we're interested in. But I don't anticipate that that happens right away,” he said.
The U.S. imposed the embargo on Cuba in 1960, shortly before relations were severed in 1961.
Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2014, 11:19