Cuba’s new president makes first trip to old Cold War foe United States

FILE PHOTO: Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel attends a meeting with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, arrived in New York on Sunday for his first trip to the United States, where he will denounce the decades-old U.S. trade embargo on his country at the U.N. General Assembly, state-run media reported.

“We bring the voice of Cuba that above all comes to denounce the abnormal policy of the blockade, a policy that has already failed, that will continue to fail, and that is the longest blockade in the history of humanity,” Diaz-Canel said on arrival, according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Diaz-Canel’s statements on the United States, as on other political matters, have so far largely echoed those of his predecessor, who remains head of the Communist Party until 2021.

The non-binding U.N. resolution urges the United States to repeal the embargo on Cuba as soon as possible. Only the U.S. Congress can lift the full embargo, put in place more than 50 years ago.

Through the week, Diaz-Canel will meet with other foreign leaders, as well as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. supporters of engagement with Cuba and members of the Cuban-American community, Cubadebate said. He will also speak on Wednesday night at New York’s historic Riverside Church.

Diaz-Canel made his first trip abroad as president to Cuba’s main ally, Venezuela, in May.

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