The latest warm words have come from opposition politicians in St. Kitts and Nevis who have added their voice to that of the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, who last week praised the US president for the bold step forward.
The joint opposition group known as Team Unity has described the shift in policy as constructive, adding that “It is good that the US sees Cuba in a new light that could bring the dawn of a new age of progressive ideals…”
In a statement shared with the media on Sunday, the group said the easing of sanctions on the largest Caribbean island “…is important for tourism, economic development, medical technology and education.”
St. Kitts and Nevis has been one of those countries in the region that have benefitted tremendously from Cuba, especially in terms of the provision of university scholarships, despite the severe economic problems faced by the Communist state.
It was 20 years ago that the then Administration of Prime Minister Dr. Kennedy Simmonds, established formal diplomatic ties with Cuba, joining many of its other sister Caribbean states that braved the political storms and backlash from the US, when they recognized Cuba and exchanged diplomats.
At the time many nations were afraid, knowing that any move closer to Cuba and the Castros could and would be frown upon by Washington.
Two decades after St. Kitts and Nevis carved their new relations, the US now has come to realize that they too needed to rid themselves of old and unsuccessful isolationist policies, and re-new their diplomatic vows to work harmoniously rather than as adversaries.
The Team Unity coalition in St. Kitts says it welcomes the thawing of the once icy relations and “We welcome the announcement that the U.S. government will re-establish diplomatic ties and review the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. Such a significant policy shift should over time lead to a better quality of life for the people of Cuba including an improvement in their enjoyment of economic and political freedoms,” said the opposition.
Both the US and Cuba were applauded for achieving the historic goal, they added.