HAVANA: Cuba’s president said Donald Trump’s hardline stance towards the country was a “setback” in relations with the United States after ties were gradually restored in 2015.
Raul Castro criticized Trump’s partial rollback of his predecessor Barack Obama’s rapprochement with the communist island in comments ahead of the second anniversary of Havana embassy’s reopening in Washington on July 20.
“The announcements made by the current president... mean a setback in bilateral relations,” Castro said Friday in remarks broadcast on state television at the closing of the first session of Cuba’s parliament.
The remarks came after Trump last month stood before a crowd of anti-Castro activists in Miami’s Little Havana and announced tightened rules for Americans traveling to Cuba, banned ties with a military-run tourism firm and reaffirmed the existing US trade embargo.
He framed his measures as a move against a “cruel and brutal” regime, saying progress on bilateral relations would hinge on concessions related to human rights.
Castro called the new measures a toughening of the US embargo against the island, imposed since 1962, saying they evoked “an old and hostile rhetoric that characterized the Cold War”.
He also denounced the manipulation of Cuba over human rights issues.
Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.