After historic Obama visit, Cuba says ending blockade the key

Cuban President Raul Castro has insisted on the need for the United States to end its more than 50-year-long economic blockade on the Caribbean island after US president Barack Obama's historic visit to the island on March 21.

Castro also took the opportunity of the first visit to Cuba by a US president in more than 80 years to say his government rejected “double standards” on human rights.

Cuban President Raul Castro has insisted on the need for the United States to end its more than 50-year-long economic blockade on the Caribbean island after US president Barack Obama's historic visit to the island on March 21.

Castro also took the opportunity of the first visit to Cuba by a US president in more than 80 years to say his government rejected “double standards” on human rights.

After his one-on-one meeting with Obama, Castro was uncompromising about the need for the US to lift its blockade and return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba. Guantanamo has been occupied by the US since 1903 and still detains without trial almost 100 prisoners in its infamous Guantanamo prison camp.

Castro praised the progress made in relations with the US, but added that much more could be realised in Cuba-US relations without the economic blockade.

“The blockade is the most significant impediment for the development of the Cuban people, that is why its elimination is essential for the normalisation of relations,” Castro said.

Raul Castro signalled that he expected the dramatic shift in the relationship between the two countries would be permanent.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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