Raul Castro warns of "a setback" in US-Cuba relations

Elias Hubbard
July 15, 2017

"Cuba and the USA can cooperate and coexist by respecting their differences and promoting everything that benefits their peoples", Castro said, referring to the change of American policy towards Cuba - announced by President Donald Trump on 16 June - as a "setback in bilateral relations".

"We reject the manipulation of the topic of human rights against Cuba, that can be proud of much in this area, and does not need to receive lessons from the United States nor anyone", Castro told the country's National Assembly, Reuters reported.

Formal ties between Cuba and the USA broke off in March 1961 due to ideological differences during the Cold War, and were resumed in July 2015 after more than a year of secret negotiations by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro.

Mr Trump has tightened restrictions on USA travel to and business with the communist island.

But both countries will keep their embassies open and Trump will not reimplement the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that gave asylum to Cuban nationals who arrived on US soil, a policy that Obama ended.

Castro called the new measures a toughening of the USA embargo against the island, imposed since 1962, saying they evoked "an old and hostile rhetoric that characterized the Cold War".

Mr Trump anchored his policy rollback in human rights concerns raised by political opponents of Cuba's communist government, many of whom have fled to Miami where Mr Trump announced the changes on 16 June. Cuba is willing to continue the dialogue with the United States, based on the respect of sovereignty, but do not expect that Havana will negotiate its principles or accept any conditions.

According to the Cuban leader, Trump's policy does not reflect the support of Cuban-US rapprochement among the US nation and the Cuban emigrants in the country, while only satisfying the interests of a small Anti-Castro community in Florida.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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