UNITED NATIONS – The “long process of normalization of relations” between Havana and Washington will culminate when the U.S. gives back Guantanamo and pays compensation for the effect of the 53-year-old economic embargo, Cuban President Raul Castro said on Monday.
“After 56 years of the Cuban people’s heroic and selfless struggle, diplomatic relations and the embassies in the respective capitals are re-established,” he said in his first address to the UN General Assembly.
The plan to restore diplomatic ties was announced in December by Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama and the missions re-opened over the summer.
But full normalization requires an end “to the economic, trade and financial blockade against Cuba,” Castro said a few hours after Obama delivered a speech from the same podium.
Havana also requires the return of “the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base” and the payment of compensation for the costs inflicted on Cuba, he said.
As long as the embargo remains in place, Cuba will continue to present each year in the General Assembly a resolution demanding an end to Washington’s economic sanctions against the island, Castro said.
Those resolutions are typically approved by overwhelming majorities.
Obama and Castro are to meet on Tuesday in New York.