On the same day as an apparent thaw in the U.S. position on its Cuban embargo, evidenced by an abstaining vote in a U.N. resolution calling for an end to the island's 56-year isolation, a former British ambassador speaking in Boston said it's too soon to look for economic opportunities in that country. 

Ambassador Paul Webster Hare discussed Cuba-U.S. relations this week at a political affairs event hosted by World Boston. Having lived in Cuba from 2001-04, he shared his insight on just how drastic a change it would be for Cuba to join the economic system of its Western neighbors. Signs of change are still small, and more drastic revolutions are not likely as long as the Castro brothers rule.  "I don't think it's right to see Cuba and the U.S. becoming warm, chummy, back-slapping partners any time soon.  Cuba remains a strange and repressive country," he said.

» Visit WGBH Forum Network to listen to Ambassador Hare's entire October 26, 2016 address.

For twenty-five years the U.S. has voted against the annual U.N. resolution demanding an end to the American embargo, making this year's vote of abstention significant. Experts in U.S. - Cuban relations see it as another step in President Obama's efforts to change relations between the two countries since 2014. The White House opposes the embargo and has called upon Congress to repeal it. Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba since 1928.

Similar to  Ambassador Hare, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N Samantha Power emphasized the nascent stage of the White House effort toward normalizing relations with Cuba, saying in her remarks during the vote, "abstaining on this resolution does not mean that the United States agrees with all of the policies and practices of the Cuban government. We do not."