Obama seeks positive signals from Cuba

April 17th, 2009 - 1:30 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 16 (EFE) President Barack Obama Thursday said Washington was hoping to see gestures from the Cuban government opening the way to better relations between the US and the communist-ruled island.
In an interview with the CNN Espanol TV before his trip to Mexico and the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, Obama recalled that his government this week lifted restrictions on Cuban Americans’ travel and remittances to the island.

He then pointed out that the Cuban government continues to require citizens to obtain an exit visa before traveling abroad.

“What we’re looking for is some signal that there are going to be changes in how Cuba operates that assures that political prisoners are released, that people can speak their minds freely, that they can travel, that they can write and attend church and do the things that people throughout the hemisphere can do and take for granted,” the US president said.

“And if there is some sense of movement on those fronts in Cuba, then I think we can see a further thawing of relations and further changes,” he said, without mentioning whether those changes might include ending Washington’s 47-year-old economic embargo.

The president said he had no problems that the subject of Cuba came up in the talks he would have with the heads of states and governments from 33 other nations at the summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

“We want to listen and learn as well as talk, and that approach, I think, of mutual respect and finding common interests, is one that ultimately will serve everybody,” Obama said, stressing that while the US will retain its leadership role in the region, “other countries have important contributions and insights”.

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