Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has commended President of the United States, Barak Obama, for moving to normalize relations with Cuba, describing it as courageous, heroic and historic.
“I beleive we need to support and commend President Obama for what I consider to be a very courageous decision on his part,” he said in reaction to the news. “I always felt within me that President Obama, before he demits office, would take this heroic and historic decision.”
Relations between Cuba and its giant nothern neighbour have been frozen since 1960 when diplomatic ties were broken and a trade embargo imposed. Although Obama announced a series of measures in the thawing relationship, such as the opening of a US embassy in Cuba, the trade embargo remains in place since only an act of Congress can lift it.
Skerrit said he received the news with “great excitement” pointing out the call for better relationship between the two countries was being made “for a very long time now.”
He said Obama should be encouraged to “forge ahead with the additional action which Congress and other would need to take in respect to allowing Cuba to be part of the world community and continue playing its important role in world development.”
The Prime Minister noted that Dominica fully supports Obama in decision “in respect to the normalization of relations between the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba.”
Meanwhile, Obama, who made the announcement of Wednesday, described that move as a “new chapter” saying the US approach to Cuba was “outdated.”
Here are some key dates in US/Cuba relations as outlined by the BBC.
1959: Fidel Castro and his guerrilla army defeat the US-backed Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista
1960-1961: Cuba nationalises US businesses without compensation; US breaks off diplomatic relations and imposes a trade embargo in response
1961: Failed Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-backed Cuban exiles
1962: Soviet Union deploys ballistic missiles to Cuba, prompting Cuban Missile Crisis
2001: Five Cubans, dubbed the Cuban Five, are jailed in Miami for spying
2008: Raul Castro becomes Cuban president
2009: US citizen Alan Gross detained in Cuba accused of spying
Dec 2013: US President Barack Obama and Raul Castro shake hands at Nelson Mandela’s funeral – the first such public gesture since 1959
17 December 2014: American Alan Gross is released by Cuba