Amnesty urges Obama to lift US embargo on Cuba


The London-based rights organisation issued the appeal days before an annual deadline for the US president to renew its decades-long embargo against Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

"This is the perfect opportunity for President Obama to distance himself from the failed policies of the past and to send a strong message to the US Congress on the need to end the embargo," said Amnesty's secretary general Irene Khan.

The group, which publishes a report Wednesday on the economic impact of the embargo, said Cuba was unable to import medicines, medical equipment and related technologies from the United States or any US company based abroad.

"The US embargo against Cuba is immoral and should be lifted. It's preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health," Khan said.

"Products patented in the USA or containing more than 20 percent US-manufactured parts or components cannot be exported to Cuba, even if they are produced in third countries."
The United States requires that Cuba make progress on democracy before ending the economic embargo on its neighbour in place since 1962.

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