US Blockade Must End Before Full Relations Restored says Cuban Vice President
News from Cuba | Thursday, 9 April 2015
On the eve of the seventh Summit of the Americas, Cuba showed signs Wednesday of accepting that the five-decade U.S. economic blockade on the island would be lifted in a second stage of the process of restoring diplomatic relations with Washington.
However, the island's government insists that while the blockade remains in effect, full normalization of relations will not take place.
"There can be no normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States if they don't lift the unjust blockade which has caused a huge economic damage to Cuba” said Miguel Diaz-Canel, the First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba.
Diaz-Canel said the first stage of the process announced in December will be the formal restoration of relations and opening of embassies, followed by the lifting of the blockade.
The newly elected Vice President spoke to reporters at a ceremony held in Havana where the island’s officials handed over 3 million signatures in solidarity with Venezuela, after the South American country labeled as an “extraordinary threat” U.S. national security by the government of President Barack Obama.
According to government sources, the island nation will resolutely defend its social gains at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue and respect, in order to show its capacity to hold civilized talks and relations with any country around the globe.