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Havana, May 10 (Prensa Latina)

Nearly four years after U.S. President Barak Obama took office, expectations of a change of attitude from that government towards Cuba are far from met, a top diplomat said here on Thursday.

While Obama has taken some positive measures in favor of relations between the two countries, the fundamental aspects that characterize the policy on Cuba have not been modified, affirmed the director of the North America Department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal.

In an interview with CNN in Spanish, released here, the official stressed that economic sanctions and the blockade, which has caused Cuba losses estimated at 975 billion dollars, are still intact.

Vidal also expressed that radio and television broadcasts designed against Cuba continue, as well as the country’s inclusion in the black lists of the Department of State, in an effort to delegitimize the Caribbean nation.

She reiterated Cuba’s willingness to support political dialogue, inclusive of all problems, to identify the areas of common interest and promote bilateral cooperation.

Concerning the case of U.S. citizen Alan Gross, in prison in Cuba for acts against national independence, the official said that the media try to equate the process with that of Rene Gonzalez, a Cuban antiterrorist who served a 13-year sentence in the U.S. and is still there under supervised release.

When asked about a request from Gross to visit his sick mother, Vidal said that the cases are different, because the U. S. citizen is beginning his sentence, and as in other countries, in such conditions, people are not allowed to leave the territory where they are serving time.

She recalled that Gerardo Hernandez, another of the four Cubans imprisoned with Rene Gonzalez in 1998 for reporting terrorist actions perpetrated from South Florida against Cuba, lost his mother while serving his sentence in prison and he was not allowed to travel to visit her.

Jane Franklin

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