Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy reversal against Cuba Monday as a “grotesque spectacle,” arguing that the move will affect U.S. citizens and result in the opposite of what Washington seeks by ultimately strengthening Cuba’s resolve to defend its sovereignty.
Speaking at a press conference in Viena, Rodriguez said the new U.S. policies that restrict travel and trade with Cuba came as a setback for bilateral relations, which have increasingly normalized since a historic thaw began at the end of 2014 after decades of frozen ties. The foreign minister added that the move will “gravely harm foreign policy” and “reinforces our patriotism and our will to defend the Cuban revolution” on the Caribbean island.
“It is unjust, inhumane, genocidal, and against the sovereignty of all states,” Rodriguez said.
He said the Trump administration has been poorly advised in its decision to rollback former President Barack Obama’s Cuba policies, which he described as a move that ignores the widespread support for the lifting the blockade and normalization of relations with Cuba, even by Republicans in Congress.
He added that the decision will restrict U.S. citizens’ liberties and opportunities for companies, leading to loss of income and jobs and a rise in taxes, while only serving the interests of a minority.
Rodriguez reiterated the will of the Cubans to have a dialogue with the U.S. with respect for Havana’s sovereignty. “We will never negotiate under pressure or threat,” he said.
He added that Obama did not make concessions towards the island, as Trump alleges, and even advanced the interests of the U.S. during negotiations that led to historic changes in bilateral ties, including the reopening of Cuban and U.S.embassies in Washington and Havana, among other developments.