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US Chamber president praises economic reforms in Cuba, urges more free-market activity

  • Cuba US-1.jpg

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue, left, and Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Commerce Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz walk in front of the Cuban and US flags after a conference at the auditorium of the University in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Donahue urged Cuba to deepen economic reforms on the island, and the US to take steps to normalize relations with the Caribbean nation. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

  • Cuba US-2.jpg

    People listens U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue, standing bottom right, during a conference at the auditorium of the University in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Donahue urged Cuba to deepen economic reforms on the island, and the US to take steps to normalize relations with the Caribbean nation. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

  • Cuba US-3.jpg

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue speaks during a conference at the auditorium of the University in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, May 29, 2014. Donahue urged Cuba to deepen economic reforms in the island, and the US to take steps to normalize relations with the Caribbean nation. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is prescribing a heavier dose of open markets as the cure for communist-run Cuba's struggling economy.

Chamber president Thomas J. Donohue praises recent reforms under which hundreds of thousands of islanders are now working in the private sector, but says the changes must now be consolidated and expanded.

Donohue says that during a three-day mission, Chamber delegates have sought to engage Cubans from "all walks of life and explain how private enterprise can dramatically improve the lives of your citizens."

He is also calling for a new relationship and changes from Washington, including efforts to support Cuba's budding entrepreneurs. He says the Chamber for years has urged an end to the 52-year-old economic embargo.

Donohue spoke Thursday at the University of Havana.

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