Ready to discuss Cuba blockade with Obama, says Raul Castro

December 16th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMexico City, Dec 16 (RIA Novosti) Cuban President Raul Castro has said his administration is ready for a dialogue with US president-elect Barack Obama, according to Mexican news sources. On his arrival in Brazil Monday on the eve of a Latin American and Caribbean summit, Castro said he would like to hold talks with Obama regarding the economic blockade that the US imposed on the communist-ruled island for 46 years.

“If Mr. Obama wants to discuss it, we’ll discuss it,” he said to journalists before the summit in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil. “If he doesn’t want to discuss it, we won’t discuss it.”

“It has become more and more difficult to isolate Cuba from the outside world,” he said, adding that the summit would issue a resolution condemning the blockade.

“We may be small, but we have demonstrated to the whole world that it is impossible to break us,” Castro said, adding that more than 70 percent of Cuba’s population has grown up under the US sanctions.

The regional gathering excludes the US and Canada and is the first large-scale meeting of Latin American leaders in recent times to take place without the presence of an outside power.

However, the Cuban leader said that nothing big should be expected from the Brazilian hosts as it is only the first step on the way to integrating Latin American countries.

“The Chinese say that the most difficult path begins with the first step,” Castro said. “Latin American integration is a long path. Recall how long it took Europe to unite.”

The two-day summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders, which is aimed at strengthening political and economic ties ends Wednesday.

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