Reuters has reported that Obama could further relax the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. A senior State Department official said on Tuesday that Washington would not first demand human rights progress from Havana.
“We are making progress. We are making regulatory changes. We’ll make more,” said David Thorne, a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Obama has eased travel restrictions on Americans, authorized telecommunications companies to operate in Cuba, and permitted trade with Cuba’s small but growing private sector, among other measures.
“The pace is really going to be set by the Cubans and we are satisfied with how they want to do this,” said Thorne, who did not specify what changes might come.
Opponents of detente say the United States should continue to pressure Cuba over its one-party political system and repression of political opponents.
Thorne said Washington was not expecting rapid change on human rights.
Thorne, on a three-day visit to Havana, met with Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and Cubans working in the private sector as small business owners or in cooperatives. He also attended the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council, an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.