The issue of the USA citizens who took asylum in Cuba made headlines last Friday, after President Donald Trump reversed the rapprochement between Washington and Havana that began two years ago, and set the return of those people as one of the conditions to resume bilateral dialogue.
In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna that Trump's restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government.
The Trump administration announced it is planning to hold President Raúl Castro's notoriously repressive regime to higher human rights standards before allowing further dialogue regarding opening the island to normalized U.S. relations.
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Numerous changes that President Barack Obama made to Cuban policy, including restoring diplomatic relations and re-establishing direct flight service, will remain under Trump's Cuba policy, which bars Americans and United States companies from any transactions that benefit the Cuban military.
The US government "has no moral authority to lecture us on human rights and democracy", Rodriguez said, pointing to the US incarceration rates, police abuses, and violations of rights of minorities, immigrants and Muslims.
Trump announced a partial rollback of the normalization of relations with Cuba on Friday in Miami, the heartland of Cuban exiles, in a theater named after the leader of the failed US -backed Bay of Pigs invasion of the island in 1961.
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Rodriguez said that he believes the United States was attempting to weaken the Cuban government, and said that the nation has no intention of negotiating "under pressure or threat".
Surrounded by Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents, Trump announced from a theater in Miami that the US would impose new limits on USA travelers to the island and ban any payments to the military-linked conglomerate that controls much of the island's tourism industry. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a Cuban-American who lobbied Trump to toughen Cuba policy, said the Cuban military has such a wide reach that it could make much of the island's economy off limits to Americans.
"Today's announcement is a step in the right direction to reverse an ill-advised and misguided Cuba policy that has failed to deliver on its promises, left the Cuban people worse off, and allowed American fugitives, like wanted terrorist and cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, to escape justice", Menendez said.
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Rodriguez called those fugitives "fighters for civil liberties" who had already been granted political asylum by Cuba and would not be returned to US.