Cuba hails Obama win, hopes US embargo will ease

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Cuba hails US President-elect Barack Obama's presidential election victory and would one day welcome an easing of the 46-year-old US trade embargo, Foreign Investment Minister Marta Lomas said in a statement.

The Cuban Government, however, is prepared for US-Cuban relations to remain "the same," she added, alluding to Havana's struggle to have the embargo lifted.

"If Obama takes some action to ease the embargo, it would be welcomed and of course it would be of help, but we're prepared for conditions to remain the same," she told reporters at a trade fair.

After expressing satisfaction over Mr Obama's win over his Republican rival John McCain, Ms Lomas said Cubans should work out their problems on their own.

"That's what will get us ahead."

During the long US election campaign, Cubans rooted for Mr Obama, believing his victory would overturn the US economic embargo on the communist island state.

The embargo was hardened under outgoing President George W Bush.

Many Cubans are looking forward to the day when restrictions are lifted on travel to and from the United States, where 1.5 million Cubans live, mainly in Florida.

There is also optimism about Mr Obama's declaration during his campaign that he would be ready to talk about easing restrictions on travel and on remittances - the money US Cubans send to family and friends in Cuba.

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