U.S. News

Biden says U.S. does not plan to lift Cuba embargo

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday the United States would not lift the country’s embargo on Cuba.

“No,” Biden told reporters at a meeting in Chile when asked if the United States planned to lift the embargo.

“We think that Cuban people should determine their own fate and they should be able to live in freedom and have some prospect of economic prosperity,” he added.

Several South American defense ministers this month urged President Barack Obama to lift the embargo on Cuba, saying such a move was crucial to improve U.S. ties with the region.

“Obama and I made it clear during our campaign that we thought there’s a need for transition in our policy toward Cuba,” Biden added.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last month to ease restrictions on trade with Cuba and family travel to the island.

Supporters hoped the congressional action would be a first step toward reviewing and possibly reversing the decades-old U.S. policy of shunning Cuba.

Obama has made clear he favors relaxing limits on family travel and cash remittances by Cuban Americans to Cuba, although he has said the U.S. trade embargo should stay in place to press for democratic reforms.

Reporting by Reese Ewing, Simon Gardner and Adrian Croft; editing by Mohammad Zargham