US Needs to End Embargo to Fully Normalize Relations With Cuba - Havana

© AP Photo / Desmond BoylanHavana, Cuba
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The path to fully normalized relations between the United States and Cuba will depend on Washington lifting the congressionally-mandated embargo held on the island nation and returning the Guantanamo Bay facility to Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said during a press conference on Friday.

HAVANA (Sputnik) — The path to fully normalized relations between the United States and Cuba will depend on Washington lifting its trade embargo on the island nation and returning Guantanamo Bay to Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said during a press conference on Friday.

Parrilla noted that in the coming weeks, discussion between Washington and Havana would need to focus on the "total lifting" of the trade embargo on Cuba, the return of the "illegally" held Guantanamo Bay territory as well as compensating the Cuban people for human and economic damages.

In this photo, reviewed by the US Military, a guard leans on a fencepost as a Guantanamo detainee, left, jogs inside the exercise yard at Camp 5 detention center, the U.S. Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 21, 2009 - Sputnik International
‘Off the Table’: Kerry Rules Out US Return of Guantanamo Bay to Cuba
Parrilla’s remarks came after the United States raised its flag above the US embassy in Havana earlier on Friday. Secretary of State Kerry travelled to Havana to participate in the ceremony to reopen the US embassy, which marked the normalization of relations between the two countries.

The United States began leasing the Guantanamo Bay from Cuba in 1903, but once relations between the two countries began deteriorating in 1959, Havana repeatedly protested the US presence and stopped accepting payments.

In Late January 2015, Cuban President Raul Castro called on the United States to return the Guantanamo Bay area to Cuba.

Meanwhile, despite relations been nearly fully normalized, the United States continues to hold a congressionally-mandated embargo on Cuba. US Congress needs to pass legislation to allow the embargo to be fully lifted.

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