Mexican president says Biden must "make decision" on Cuba embargo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that he believes US President Joe Biden must make a decision on the embargo on Cuba amid the biggest unrest in the Caribbean in decades.
Lopez Obrador said it was not enough for countries to vote in favor of ending the embargo through the United Nations General Assembly, it was time to make a real decision as "almost every country in the world" opposed it.
"It is inconceivable that they want to block an independent country in these times," said Lopez Obrador.
"I think President Biden has to make a decision about it. It's a respectful call, not from a meddling point of view, but we have to separate the political from the humanitarian."
Cuban families should also face fewer restrictions on receiving remittances from people living in the United States or any other country, Lopez Obrador added.
"How can it be blocked if it's not even government money?" said Lopez Obrador.
Remittances to Cuba are believed to be between $ 2 billion and $ 3 billion annually, making it the third largest source of income after the service industry and tourism.
The transfers were slowed down by a policy by former US President Donald Trump that led Western Union to shut down Cuban operations.
The Cuban government has blamed the protests mainly on the US-funded "counterrevolutionaries" who are taking advantage of the economic hardship caused by the decades-old US embargo.
Lopez Obrador says the US embargo is a cause of the protests that erupted amid Cuba's worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union's former ally in the 1990s.
Mexico is said to be sending food and medical supplies, including syringes, oxygen bottles and masks, to Cuba via cargo ships.
(Reporting by Diego Ore and Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)
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