Cuban minister: Trump's policy shift 'absolutely unsustainable'

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   June 19, 2017 at 2:24 PM

June 19 (UPI) -- Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on Monday said President Donald Trump's hard-line U.S. policy shift toward Cuba will harm Cubans and Americans, adding the island nation "will not negotiate."

Rodríguez Parrilla made the comments during a televised address in Havana in response to Trump's announcement on Friday that his administration would place new restrictions on U.S. business and tourism to prevent U.S. dollars from reaching the Cuban government and its military.

The Cuban foreign minister said Trump's policy would harm the United States' and Cuba's public and private sector. He criticized the U.S. policy change and further called on the U.S. blockade against Cuba to be removed.

Rodríguez Parrilla said Trump's "policies rescue icebergs from the Cold War."

"The measures applied by the United States will harm the Cuban people. In Cuba, it is impossible to damage the state sector without damaging the private sector," Rodríguez Parrilla said. "Trump's measures are absolutely unsustainable. The blockade is a piece of the Cold War and it is unfair, arbitrary and represents a flagrant violation of human rights."

Rodríguez Parrilla said the Cuban government will honor the agreements established under former U.S. President Barack Obama, who worked to normalize relations with the Communist country.

Trump said he would shift the policy in an attempt to establish a better deal in negotiations with Havana to generate more freedoms for the Cuban people, but Rodríguez Parrilla rejected the notion, adding it was "false to say that Obama made concessions to Cuba."

"Cuba will not make concessions to its national sovereignty," Rodríguez Parrilla said. "There is no doubt that history will force a U.S. president to lift the blockade and normalize relations with Cuba, and we will have the patience and we will work until that happens."

Though an embargo against Cuba remains in place since 1960, improved relations between Washington, D.C., and Havana under Obama allowed businesses to venture into the once-isolated island nation.

"It has been demonstrated in recent years that Cuba and the U.S. can live peacefully. Cuba will not negotiate its principles nor accept conditions as it has never done," Rodríguez Parrilla added. "President Trump has presented himself as a renovator, however what he has done with Cuba is to return to a policy that failed in time."

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