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US Business Deals in Cuba Limited by Embargo Despite Improved Relations

© AFP 2022 / YAMIL LAGETourists walk next to a poster of Cuban President Raul Castro and US president Barack Obama in Havana, on March 18, 2016
Tourists walk next to a poster of Cuban President Raul Castro and US president Barack Obama in Havana, on March 18, 2016 - Sputnik International
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US business activity in Cuba remains constrained by Washington’s embargo against the island nation despite a relaxation of some policies by the Obama administration, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Thursday.

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.

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“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.”

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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.

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