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Cuba Says Obama’s Easing of Embargo Hasn’t Helped Economy

By on September 9, 2016

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez gives a news conference about the government's annual report in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Sept 9, 2016. Rodriguez said U.S. embargo on Cuba cost the Caribbean nation more than 4,600 million dollars despite President Barack Obama's easing of sanctions. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez gives a news conference about the government’s annual report in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Sept 9, 2016.  (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA – Cuba’s top diplomat says President Barack Obama’s easing of the U.S. trade embargo on the country has had virtually no positive effect for its economy.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez asserts that the sanctions cost Cuba $4.6 billion last year.

He spoke Friday while presenting a report ahead of a U.N. vote on condemning the embargo. The report is an annual ritual driving home to a mostly domestic audience Havana’s message that the embargo is to blame for most of Cuba’s problems.

It contains a detailed accounting of both specific damage from the embargo, such as U.S. fines on Cuba’s business partners, and scenarios in which Cuba faults the U.S. for the loss of hypothetical business.

Rodriguez said the total cost of the 55-year-old embargo now stands at $125.9 billion.

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