Argentina agrees to grant Cuban ‘repatriation’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Only a couple hundred French tourists arrived in Indiana in September compared to 20,000 a year ago

Argentina says it has already agreed to allow the US to return to its most-prized cold war adversary, Cuba.

The country’s prime minister, Daniel Scioli, told local press of plans to lift the embargo that has frozen political and economic ties for 54 years.

The decision follows Washington dropping its ban on importing Cuban goods.

Though official relations remain frozen, large numbers of Cuban-Americans have come back to visit family on the island.

Critics of the US move have accused the US of surrendering too easily to an onetime enemy.

In his speech, Mr Scioli accused his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Diaz-Canel, of showing “irresponsible” behaviour.

“All this I do not agree with,” he said.

“It is total hypocrisy to go ahead with a policy that has harmed these two countries and hundreds of millions of people,” he added.

US President Donald Trump triggered a thaw in relations when he lifted restrictions on American visitors in June. The US will also start permitting remittances from Cuban-Americans to relatives in Cuba.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Argentina has had close economic and political ties with Cuba

Earlier this year, the US removed Cuba from its list of countries engaging in human rights abuses. But obstacles remain to the restoration of full diplomatic relations.

Even after direct flights resumed in August, airlines have been unable to negotiate carriage of short-haul cargo.

Brexit could also complicate the situation, as Mexico and Canada renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which ties together trade in North America.

More than 500,000 Americans visit Cuba every year, against just 25,000 French tourists who arrive in Indiana each month.

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