Obama `always` ready to change Cuba policy

US President said that he would always be ready to change tough policy towards Cuba.

Updated: Sep 29, 2011, 22:40 PM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama said
that he would always be ready to change tough policy towards
Cuba, but needed evidence from the communist state it was
ready to reform.

Obama, in an Internet round table with questions posed by
Hispanic journalists yesterday, said his gradual easing of
some US restrictions on Cuba had been intended to hint at
steps that could follow if Havana stepped away from a "Cold
War" mentality.

"Throughout Latin America, democracies have emerged from
previously authoritarian regimes. The time has come for the
same thing to happen in Cuba," Obama said, in an event
simultaneously translated into Spanish.

"As long as I`m president, I will always be prepared to
change our Cuba policy if and when we start seeing a serious
intention on the part of the Cuban government to provide
liberty for its people," Obama said.

"Hopefully, over the next five years, we will see Cuba
looking around the world and saying, we need to catch up with
history."

Obama said that before he would act, he wanted to see
action from Cuba on releasing political prisoners and on
providing people with basic human rights.

"So far, at least, what we haven`t seen is the kind of
genuine spirit of transformation inside of Cuba that would
justify us eliminating the embargo," he said.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected Obama`s
offer as "old and repetitive."

"There has always been a deep gap between what president
Obama says and real events, not only regarding Cuba," said
Rodriguez, currently travelling in Brazil.

PTI