Irish Republican News · December 20, 2014
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Delight at Obama move to end blockade on Cuba


A historic announcement of a thaw in Cuban-US relations which includes the release of the three remaining members of the “Cuban Five” and Alan Gross, an American citizen detained in Cuba, has been strongly welcomed in Ireland.

Many republicans and socialists viewed the US trade embargo as an act of coercion against its impoverished island neighbour. Despite concerns over human rights abuses, there was strong support in Ireland for the island nation in its 54 year defiance of the blockade and the deprivation it helped to cause.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams welcomed the historic agreement to begin dismantling the trade embargo, reportedly brokered by Pope Francis, and credited the breakthrough on “dialogue and mutual trust”.

“The opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba is evidence of what can be achieved through dialogue and mutual trust,” he said.

“I want to congratulate both President Obama and President Raul Castro and all of those who have worked to achieve this historic agreement which will benefit the citizens of both states.

“I hope the new and more positive relationship between both countries can lead to the speedy lifting of the blockade of Cuba.”

Sinn Fein councillor Campbell said it was “extremely encouraging” to hear US would release the three remaining members of the Cuban Five, who, he said, were “unjustly imprisoned” for attempting to stop right wing militants from bombing and directly attacking Cuba.

During his tenure as Mayor of Derry Kevin in 2012, Councillor Campbell hosted relatives of the “Cuba 5” on a visit to the city to highlight the campaign for their freedom

Cllr Campbell added: “Ógra Shinn Féin have also been very active in Derry in raising the profile of the campaign and thousands of people from this city signed a petition calling for the men’s release. All of these campaigns across the world have had the cumulative effect of putting pressure on the American administration.

“I hope these collective prisoners release will help build confidence on both sides and create a positive inclusive backdrop for these new talks.

“This marks a historic shift in US-Cuban relations and I hope, with many others, that this will lead to a new approach towards agreement which will improve bilateral relations.

“The US blockade of Cuba was unjust, counterproductive, and should be lifted. I hope these new talks will lead to a new beginning, and end a historic conflict that has impacted so negatively on the ordinary Cuban people.”

He concluded: “I agree with US President Obama and the Cuban President Rául Castro that changes are the right thing to do.”

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