Cuba rejects new US policy, calls it ‘archaic’

Havana: The Cuban government has rejected the newly-announced US policy towards the country and said that any attempt to change the political system on the island would be “destined to fail”.

The Cuban media called Trump’s new foreign policy on Cuba “regrettable” and “archaic”. The Cuban News Agency said Trump took “a step backward” in ties with Cuba, by adopting a “unilateral” and “interventionist” stance.

Trump on Friday laid out his new Cuba policy that tightens rules on Americans travelling to Cuba and bars US individuals and companies from doing commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the Cuban military, Efe news reported.

Cuban President Raul Castro, responding to Trump’s announcement, said: “Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve it through pressures and impositions, or by employing subtle methods, will be doomed to failure.”

While Castro acknowledged that changes in Cuba were necessary, pointing to the ongoing process of modernising and developing the island’s economic and socialist model, he insisted that Cuba would decide its own fate independent of foreign influence.

“We will assume any risk and remain firm and secure in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation,” Castro said in a statement.

The statement added that Trump had been “poorly advised” to favour the political interests of an “extremist minority” of Cuban-Americans living in Florida, who, because of “petty motivations, will not give up on their ambition of punishing Cuba.”

Trump’s announcement on Friday in Miami reverses the advances made in the past two years since 2014 when Castro and Obama revealed their decision to restore diplomatic relations and begin the process of normalising bilateral ties.

Trump said: “I am cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba”. He vowed to seek a “much better deal for the Cuban people and for the US.”

At the same time, he said that the US embassy in Havana would remain open.

The Cuban statement said that Trump “justified that policy with alleged concerns over the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously apply” the trade embargo and blockade against the island, which Obama had relaxed.”

It further said that “once again the US government is resorting to the coercive measures of the past.”

Castro also said that “the US is not in a position to give us lessons”. However, the government also made it clear that it is willing to continue “respectful dialogue” and cooperation with Washington on issues of mutual interest.