Maduro Congratulates Castros on New US Ties

Maduro Congratulates Castros on New US TiesMaduro Congratulates Castros on New US Ties

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro congratulated the Castro brothers Friday on Cuba’s rapprochement with Washington, but warned that the embargo on the island would remain for a long time.

“Much more than good news is the real possibility that the United States recognizes the sacred right of Cuba to be free and sovereign,” Maduro said in a letter to President Raul Castro published by Cuban media.

“There is still a long way to go before Washington will recognize that we are no longer its backyard, to end the criminal blockade” of Cuba, in force since 1962, the AFP quoted Maduro as saying.

As part of the agreement, the United States released three Cuban agents it had held since 1998 who were part of the so-called Cuba Five, while Havana released an unidentified spy and US contractor Alan Gross.

“We celebrate with infinite joy the completion of the final release of the Cuban Five, thus closing one of the many chapters of the United States’ interventionist and criminal policy,” Maduro wrote.

Venezuela has been Cuba’s main political and economic ally since the late President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.