Socialist island rejects ‘hard-line stance’ and urges dialogue and co-operation
CUBA condemned US President Donald Trump at the weekend after he further restricted travel to and trade with the socialist island.
Cuba’s government stressed the need for peaceful coexistence between the two countries and rejected Mr Trump’s hardening of the blockade that had been slightly eased by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Mr Trump had promised fringe anti-communist Cuban exiles that he would take a hard line — a position that Cuba said is opposed by the wider Cuban community in the US and the population as a whole.
Mr Trump announced the restrictions on Friday and they came in for broad criticism, with Russia saying it was a return to “the rhetoric of the cold war” and Nicaragua condemning “this unjustifiable new aggression.”
“Nicaragua will continue to denounce the criminal blockade of the United States against Cuba, condemned by all countries of the world,” the government said.
At the most recent United Nations vote against the illegal blockade, 191 countries demanded it be lifted, with no votes against and only the US and Israel abstaining.
In its statement, the Cuban government said tightening the blockade would not help the US aim of “debilitating the revolution or forcing the submission of the Cuban people,” who have resisted the US onslaught for six decades.
Cuba also rejected hypocritical US attacks on its human rights record, with Mr Trump demanding the release of “political prisoners” from Cuba while also calling for the extradition of political exiles who are wanted for arrest in the United States.
The US stance also rings hollow given that it jailed five Cuban anti-terrorist agents after they sent evidence to the US FBI about the Florida-based culprits of several bombings in Havana.
“We have deep concerns about the respect for human rights in the US, where there have been a large number of cases of murder, brutality and abuse by police, particularly against African-Americans,” Cuba said.
However, with the slight thaw in relations ushered in by Mr Obama, “the past two years has shown that the US and Cuba can co-operate and live together in a civilised manner, respecting differences and working together to benefit both nations and peoples.”