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#499106 - 12/17/14 01:05 PM USA Cuba Policy Changes
Marty Offline

Press Release- US Department of State- Dec 17th-

Office of the Spokesperson : STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY

Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes

I was a seventeen year old kid watching on a black and white television set when I first heard an American President talk of Cuba as an “imprisoned island.”

For five and a half decades since, our policy toward Cuba has remained virtually frozen, and done little to promote a prosperous, democratic and stable Cuba. Not only has this policy failed to advance America’s goals, it has actually isolated the United States instead of isolating Cuba.

Since 2009, President Obama has taken steps forward to change our relationship and improve the lives of the Cuban people by easing restrictions on remittances and family travel. With this new opening, the President has committed the United States to begin to chart an even more ambitious course forward.

Beginning more than twenty years ago, I have seen firsthand as three presidents — one Republican and two Democrats — have undertaken a similar effort to change the United States’ relationship with Vietnam. It wasn’t easy. It isn’t complete still today. But it had to start somewhere, and it has worked.

As we did with Vietnam, changing our relationship with Cuba will require an investment of time, energy and resources. Today’s step also reflects our firm belief that the risk and the cost of trying to turn the tide is far lower than the risk and cost of remaining stuck in an ideological cement of our own making.

This new course will not be without challenges, but it is based not on a leap of faith but on a conviction that it’s the best way to help bring freedom and opportunity to the Cuban people, and to promote America’s national security interests in the Americas, including greater regional stability and economic opportunities for American businesses.

In January, as part of the President’s directive to discuss moving toward re-establishment of diplomatic relations, my Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Roberta Jacobson will travel to Cuba to lead the U.S. Delegation to the next round of U.S.-Cuba Migration Talks. I look forward to being the first Secretary of State in 60 years to visit Cuba. At President Obama’s request, I have also asked my team to initiate a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Going forward, a critical focus of our increased engagement will continue to be on improving the Cuban Government’s respect for human rights and advocating for democratic reforms within Cuba. Promoting freedom of speech and entrepreneurship and an active civil society will only strengthen Cuban society and help to reintegrate Cuba into the international community.

#499111 - 12/17/14 05:36 PM Re: USA Cuba Policy Changes [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
PADI had restrictions on Certifying Cubans to SCUBA Dive and I would think this directly effects that status. I hope to hear from them on this soon.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#499147 - 12/19/14 03:45 AM Re: USA Cuba Policy Changes [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Cuba-USA: What It Means For Cubans Living Here

America's move to reestablish relations with Cuba after 50+ years has been making headlines around the world. Ties between the US and Cuba were severed since 1960 when the US imposed a trade embargo on Cuba. This has crippled economic and social development in Cuba. But President Obama has taken a bold step to dramatically improve relations with Cuba. Now many of you might be wondering what this news development has to do with Belize. Well, there are a fair number of Cubans living here in Belize, not to mention the 97 medical professionals in the Cuban medical brigade. So we wanted to find out what this change in US policy means for them? 29 year old Yadielis Martinez has been living in Belize for about 5 years and owns Brisas Del Mar restaurant on Caye Caulker. Today via telephone from Caye Caulker Martinez explained how significant this rapprochement is to Cubans living in Belize and their families back in Cuba.

Yadielis Martinez, Caye Caulker resident

"Well I thinks it's very important for the people who lives in Cuba because if the Cuban government and the United States government have a good relations, that means that they are going to open lot of things that are closed at the moment. I don't know if you know, but Americans, they can't go to Cuba because the US government, they don't let them go to Cuba. They are not allowed to go to Cuba. So this is not good for Cuba because the tourism industry is very important for the economy in Cuba. I don't think that nothing is going to happen with the doctors or with the program because I think a relation with the States is something that everyone is waiting for a long time. Cuba has a lot of programs and relationship with different countries like here Belize, Brazil, Venezuela - with a lot of countries and I don't think that nothing bad will going to happen for the programs. For us, it's very good because we have our families and everything there and we have friends. We go there every year, but we are here working and I think everyone Cuban that is not there, their lives will continue."

Martinez is from Matanzas, Cuba. She lives on Caye Caulker with her husband and 8 year old son.

Channel 7

#499273 - 12/23/14 04:05 AM Re: USA Cuba Policy Changes [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Tracy Taegar-Panton on the Effect of Cuba and U.S. Relations on Tourism

Tracy Taeger-Panton

Last week we told you about the historic renewal of diplomatic affairs between the governments of Cuba and the United States. The news was followed by the announcement of the establishment of diplomatic missions in Havana and Washington. But there is also another outcome of the decision; that is, Cuba as a tourist destination. So is the B.T.B. at all concerned about the effects that it can possible have on Belize and its tourism numbers?

Tracy Taeger-Panton, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism

“We are excited actually that the U.S. is looking favorably at Cuba. We have always maintained relations with Cuba in many programs; tourism being one of them. We think that the impact on Belize could be positive. We have two different types of products and we have a different market. Cuba is a mass tourism market; Belize is a niche tourism market so we don’t think at all that the opening of Cuba will adversely affect the type of traveler that comes to Belize.”


“Also Cuba is a cruise tourism destination as well and it is closer to the south west. Do you believe it will have any bearing on the way traffic is moved in this region?”

Tracy Taeger-Panton

“They might be looking at new itineraries. Belize is special and I’ll tell you why. A cruise ship is in Belize for eight hours or in any destination. Belize has a very diverse tour options and it is close to get there. So you can do many tours within the eight-hour period. That is really Belize’s unique and competitive advantage over any destination, Cuba included. So I don’t foresee at all, Cuba opening up and being a cruise port itself will affect what Belize has. What Belize has is very special in terms of product but also in terms of time to travel to and from a particular site.”

Channel 5


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