Mexican president urges Biden to end Cuba sanctions

Mexico City (AFP) –


Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday appealed to US President Joe Biden to end sanctions against Cuba, warning the measures risked fomenting unrest.

Lopez Obrador made the plea alongside his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel, who was a rare guest of honor at an Independence Day military parade in Mexico City.

"Hopefully President Biden, who has sufficient political sensitivity... puts an end forever to the political grievances towards Cuba," Lopez Obrador said.

The leftist leader called "respectfully" for Washington to lift the embargo against Cuba, arguing that "no state has the right to subdue another people, another country."

Sanctions hurt the well-being of the Cuban people "so that they, forced by necessity, have to confront their own government," Lopez Obrador said.

"If this perverse strategy were to succeed... it would become a vile and despicable Pyrrhic victory," he warned.

Diaz-Canel thanked Mexico for its "solidarity" at a time when Cuba, he said, was under attack on several fronts.

As well as a US embargo and the Covid-19 pandemic, the island faces an "aggressive campaign of hatred, misinformation, manipulation and lies" on social media, he said.

It is Diaz-Canel's first trip abroad since protests shook the island in July, leaving one dead, dozens of injuries and hundreds detained.

Mexico and Cuba have a history of close ties.

It was in Mexico that Argentine-born revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara met the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1955 and joined his guerrilla expedition to Cuba.

Mexico maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba even after the island was expelled from the Organization of American States in 1962.

Diaz-Canel will participate in a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States on Saturday in Mexico City.