OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

During a lecture, given May 30, at the University of Havana’s Great Hall, attended by students, academics and authorities, Thomas J. Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, praised the updating of Cuba’s economic model currently underway and advocated for better relations between the two countries. “There are some very good businesses on the island worth investing in,” he said. In a statement posted on the Chamber’s website, Donohue wrote that the “trip will provide us with a first-hand look at changes in Cuba’s economic policies and whether or not they are affecting the ability to do business there. We want to learn more about these reforms,” Donohue stated. Asked how much longer the U.S. blockade of Cuba might last - a failed policy opposed by the vast majority of the world’s countries - he answered, “It depends on how well we can communicate with one another.” “It is time to begin a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba relations,” he added, emphasizing that the Chamber of Commerce thinks it's time to eliminate the long-standing political barriers and work to “clear up differences,” since “attitudes are changing towards the embargo in the United States.” Donohue said the organization was pleased that Cuban-Americans with close family members on the island can now travel more freely to Cuba, adding that he hopes other U.S. citizens will soon be able to do the same, since “Cuba is a great place to visit.” He said that such travel would contribute to greater understanding between the two countries and an appreciation of what could be accomplished working together. Donohue commented on the changes underway in the country’s economic model, noting in particular the 450,000 self-employed workers; the 400,000 small farmers who have been awarded land to work in usufruct; the new foreign investment law; and the opening of the Mariel Special Development Zone. During the final leg of the visit, the delegation visited the Mariel Special Development Zone and met with members of non-agricultural cooperatives, as well as workers employed by non-state entities, in addition to holding meetings with Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban minister of Foreign Relations, and Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, minister of Foreign Trade and Investment During his talk at the University of Havana, Donohue said, “We will report our findings to lawmakers, our members, and the American business community,” (Granma International news staff).