Cuba-US Relations, a Step Backward in 2017

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Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Condemns U.S. Blockade at United Nations General Assembly

Havana, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuba-United States relations experienced a regression last year after the arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House, the Cuban Foreign Ministry stressed today in a summary on foreign policy.

The document published in its website reminds that on February 3, 2017, less than a month after taking office, Trump ordered a complete review of the policy towards the Caribbean country, and on June 16 put an end to the directive from his predecessor, Barack Obama, destined to move towards the normalization of bilateral ties.

‘With this step, the United States imposed a significant setback in bilateral relations, by resuming the unsuccessful strategy of intensifying the blockade and subversion,’ Cuban Foreign Ministry warns.

According to the text of the Foreign Ministry, in October and November the climate between both nations worsened even more, as a result of hostile positions assumed by the new administration.

In this regard, it states that the State Department decided to significantly reduce its diplomatic staff in Havana, expel unilaterally, unfounded and arbitrary 17 officials of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, issue a warning to travelers to dissuade them from visiting the Island and prohibit travel of official US delegations.

‘The US government used as a pretext to take these hasty and arbitrary measures, the supposed incidents that would have affected the health of some of US diplomats in Cuba and their relatives.’

Thereon, it is striking that neither the Cuban expert committee created to investigate the alleged incidents, nor the FBI, have found any evidence of the alleged sonic attacks, a term used by officials and media of the northern country.

The Foreign Ministry highlights in its summary the denunciations of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, on the manipulation of the issue, made in Washington during his meeting with then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meetings with congressmen and statements to the press.

Rodriguez reiterated that the island has the will to continue the respectful dialogue and a serious and objective cooperation with the United States, and is committed to conclude the investigation to achieve the clarification of these facts.

Regarding the impact of Washington’s decisions, he stressed that they affected the operation of the Embassy of Cuba and its Consulate, particularly the consular services to Cuban citizens residing in that country, as well as Americans who wish to visit the largest of the Antilles.

The dismantling of the Economic-Commercial Office left without counterpart the American businessmen interested in the business opportunities in the island, while the suspension of the granting of visas by the Consulate in Havana and the transfer of this function to third countries, hindered and made more expensive the procedures of those who wish to emigrate or visit the United States, he adds.

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