WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, the United States abstained from a nonbinding vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a draft resolution calling for an end to the embargo. It was the first US abstention in 24 years of UN votes condemning the embargo.
“What you have not seen because of structural impediments on the Cuban side and in some cases on our side of course with the embargo is a significant amount of US businesses starting to operate and sign commercial deals in Cuba,” Rhodes told CNN in an interview. “There’s been small ones here and there, but that’s where the limitations still come into play.”
Despite numerous policy differences between Washington and Havana, a boost in US business deals could help Cubans benefit from improved bilateral relations, Rhodes said. Ultimately, however, Cuba’s government will to have to implement changes of its own, he added.
In late 2014, President Barack Obama began a process of normalizing US relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of estrangement and tension.
Although the countries re-established diplomatic ties in July 2015, the US embargo — a response to Cuba’s 1959 communist revolution — remains in place. Obama has urged Congress to lift the embargo, but Republican majorities in the US Senate and House of Representatives have refused.