Cuba must reform before U.S. eases stance: Obama

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 28, 2011 1:33 PM
Cuba must reform before U.S. eases stance: Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is ready to change its stern policy toward Cuba but has not seen steps from Havana that would justify lifting its embargo, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

Obama said he did not want to be "stuck in a Cold War mentality" and that Washington had sought to improve ties by changing rules about remittances and travel but was waiting for signals from Cuba such as the release of political prisoners and guarantees of basic human rights.

He urged the communist-run Caribbean island, under a U.S. embargo for the last five decades, to join the wave of democratic change sweeping the Arab world and that ousted most authoritarian rulers in Latin America in decades past.

"The time has come for the same thing to happen in Cuba," Obama said in a question and answer session with U.S. Hispanic media. "If we see positive movement then we will respond in a positive way."

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro accused Obama on Monday of talking "gibberish" in his recent speech to the United Nations and said NATO's actions in Libya were a "monstrous crime.