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Cuba Reacts to Eased America-Cuba Travel Rules

Fidel Castro delivers a speech to students outside Havana's University in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Sept. 3, 2010. The Cuban Foreign Ministry Sunday released a statement criticizing the White House. AP Photo
Cuba's Foreign Ministry took the Obama administration to task Sunday for not showing any real interest in improving relations between the two countries.

In a statement e-mailed to foreign journalists, the Ministry says the easing of travel restrictions announced Friday by Washington only benefit "specific categories of Americans and does not restore the right to travel to Cuba for all American citizens, who continue to be the only ones in the whole world who cannot freely visit our country."

While calling the measure that opens more avenues for cultural, religious and academic travel "positive," the Foreign Ministry says it falls short, keeping the more than 50-year-old economic and trade embargo intact.

In short, the statement charges that the Obama Administration has done little more than roll back the travel rules to the way they were in the Clinton era before former president George W. Bush tightened them in 2003.

The measure confirms "there is no will to change the policy of embargo and destabilization" toward Cuba, the Ministry claims.

The statement credits "wide sectors of U.S. society" for pushing the White House to take any steps at all and calls it also "an expression of the United States' failed policy against Cuba and a seeking of new ways to achieve its historic objectives of dominating out people."

Cuba, it says, has always been in favor of exchanges with the American people, its universities, academic, scientific and religious institutions. It blames Washington for all obstacles to such visits and concludes by urging Washington to lift all restrictions on travel for all Americans to Cuba as well as to lift the embargo.

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