Cuban President Fidel Castro studies a bottle of Chablis during a 1995 visit to France. Photo: Pascal George/AFP
“I want, on the occasion of the death of Fidel Castro to again insist that the embargo that punishes Cuba should be lifted definitively (and that) Cuba should be fully regarded as a partner in the international community,” said Hollande during a summit in Madagascar.
Instituted in the early 1960s, the trade embargo was designed to starve Castro's regime of US currency. Despite the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana, the embargo remains largely in place today.
“France has always seen Cuba as a partner,” said Hollande, who in May 2015 was the first western head of state to visit the island nation after the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba in December 2014.
“Even if I have repeatedly denounced human rights abuses in Cuba, I have always believed that the embargo was an unacceptable, unilateral decision,” he said. “Fidel Castro was a great figure of the 20th century. He aroused much hope with the Cuban revolution. There have also been disappointments.”