Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 24th 2013 Contents A23
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The United States economic embargo
against Cuba is making it difficult for T&T
companies to do business on that island.
Ana Silvia Rodriguez Abascal, charge d af-
faires of the Cuban Embassy in T&T, admitted
this yesterday during a media briefing in Port-
of-Spain at which she highlighted the problems
the embargo was creating for Cuba and its
neighbours in the Caribbean.
"There is a trade surplus in T&T s favour
between the two countries but many times
the United States has shares and interests in
T&T companies and it is difficult for them to
do business with Cuba. However, if there are
local companies without US interests or shares
then they are free to come to Cuba. There is
also difficulty as to how payments will be
made," she said.
Rodriguez said the embargo also discourages
tourists and professionals from T&T from vis-
iting Cuba: "There are many nationals of
T&T that want to travel to Cuba and some
ask that the Embassy not stamp the visa in
the passport because when they go to the
US there will be problems. This is another
impact of the blockade preventing business
people and companies from doing business
She noted that Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar, on behalf of Caricom, has
called for an end for the US economic embar-
go against Cuba, calling it an anachronism.
"Right now T&T has the chairmanship of
Caricom. Although Caricom speaks as one
voice on the issue, each member state votes
individually at the United Nations"
The embargo, which has been in place
since 1962, began as a partial commercial,
economic, and financial embargo. In 1992,
the embargo was further strengthened by
the Cuban Democracy Act, which turned
it into a law designed to maintain and
strengthen the restriction of information
and good exchange between the US and
Cuba. Restrictions were tightened again in
1996, when Congress passed the Helms-
Burton Act, which prevents private citizens
from doing business in or with Cuba.
Last year the vote at the UN General
Assembly was overwhelming, with 188
nations---including most of the US s closest
allies---supporting the end of the embar-
go.According to the Cuban Government,
the embargo over the last 12 months has
cost the country roughly US$3.9 billion.
Rodriguez expressed her appreciation to
T&T and other Caricom nations for their
support for Cuba.
"We have to take into account it is not
the same as bigger countries. We must also
take into account the vulnerabilities of the
Caribbean economies. We know for a fact
the pressure that the US Government exerts
on small countries for them to vote at the
UN Assembly in favour of the embargo.
But we recognise the long standing support
of the Caribbean people," she said.
Rodriguez said US President Barack
Obama has been a disappointment and it
is "more of the same" as previous presidents
who had maintained the embargo.
"The reality is that after five years, the
policy of Obama has been characterised by
the maintenance of the blockade against
Cuba. We are ready to talk to them (the
United States) as equals," she said.
DETROIT---Ford says the Focus
compact car is the best-selling auto
in the world this year.
The company says it sold almost
590,000 Focuses during the first half
of the year based on registration
data. That beat the No. 2 finisher, the
Toyota disputes the claim. The
Japanese automaker says Ford didn't
count identical Toyota cars sold
under different names in other
Ford says Focus sales are up 20
per cent through the first half of the
year. That's mainly because of big
sales in China, now the car's largest
market. This would be the third year
in a row that Ford Motor Co. lays
claim to the top-seller honours. (AP)
Ford, Toyota fight over who has top-selling car
Embassy official admits:
Embargo risks for T&T businesses in Cuba
Charge d'affaires of the Cuban Embassy Ana Silvia Rodriguez Abascal gives details on the
embargo against Cuba during a press conference at the Cuban Embassy, Coblentz Avenue, St
Ann's, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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