US says no to Cuba’s request for embargo suspension

September 8th, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Rabat (Morocco)/Washington, Sep 8 (DPA) The United States has rejected a request by the Cuban government that it lift its decades-old embargo for a limited time to allow relief goods and reconstruction materials into the hurricane-struck island.Hurricane Ike was headed for landfall on the communist island in the Caribbean Sunday evening, little more than a week after Hurricane Gustav left 100,000 homeless.

Over the weekend, Cuba evacuated at least 250,000 people to safety from its eastern regions from the newest storm.

Speaking to reporters in Rabat, Morocco, Rice criticized the authoritarian passing of power by Fidel Castro to his brother Raul earlier this year, which she said is “not acceptable in a Western hemisphere that is democratic, and it is not acceptable for the Cuban people.”

“So, I don’t think that, in the context that we see now, that a lifting of the embargo would be wise,” she said Sunday, according to a transcript released in Washington.

“What we cannot do is to have the transfer of power from one dictatorial regime to another,” she said.

She also cited human rights abuses on the island.

The Cuban government Saturday asked the US to lift its embargo on trade in certain materials needed to survive and rebuild after hurricane devastation. Russia has been ferrying materials such as tents and refugee materials to Cuba in recent days.

The appeal from Cuba’s foreign ministry asked Washington to allow North American companies to extend credit to Cuba to buy goods needed during the desperate recovery efforts, Cuban media reports said.

The call echoed an appeal last week from Cuban dissident groups who sent an open letter to United States President George W. Bush asking for a temporary suspension of restrictions on Cuba so that voluntary organizations and Cubans living abroad could send aid to the victims of Hurricane Gustav.

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