Cuban diplomats respond to President Donald Trump’s ‘hostile rhetoric’

The Cuban military senT a message to President Donald Trump warning him that his new strategy to change the Communist island is "doomed to failure."

Trump was in Miami on Friday to announce that he was reinstating the restrictions on travel to Cuba and banning any business dealings with the Cuban military, which controls the tourism industry.

After the event in Miami's Little Havana, Cuban diplomats released a statement on their website late Friday. 

"The government of Cuba reiterates its willingness to continue a respectful dialog and cooperation on themes of mutual interest, as well as negotiations on pending bilateral matters," the statement said. 

Former President Barack Obama's move to reinstate diplomatic relations Dec. 17, 2014 remained in place with both embassies in Havana and Washington open. Trump also agreed not to reinstate the "wet-foot dry-foot" policy that allowed Cuban migrants to have a straight path to legalization upon touching U.S. land.

In response to Trump's concern about human rights violations on the island, the Cuban diplomats said the U.S. is no condition to give them lessons.

 "We have serious worries about the respect for and guarantees for human rights in that country," the statement said. 

Cuban diplomats cited police killings and police brutality, racial discrimination, child labor, firearm deaths, salary inequality, the marginalization of refugees and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change as reasons why Trump was in no position to judge Cuba. 

The Cuban officials added that Trump's restrictions and "hostile rhetoric" are "hardening the embargo" and are based on the view of a minority of Cuban Americans and not on the preference of the majority of Americans who they say would rather see the embargo lifted. 

Among those with Trump as he announced the policy in Little Havana were Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans strongly opposed to Obama’s outreach. Outside of Miami, Trump faced opposition in the U.S. agricultural sector. 

Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., said Trump’s shift is more than just a missed opportunity for rural America, which would benefit from greater access to Cuba’s agricultural import market. He said Trump’s policy may put U.S. national security at risk as strategic competitors move to fill the vacuum the uncoupling could create.
"Further U.S. disengagement opens up opportunities for countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea and China to gain influence on an island 90 miles off our coast," Crawford said.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said in a statement that any policy change "that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people."
Flake has been among the most outspoken lawmakers opposed to rolling back Obama’s outreach to Havana. He’s warned that returning to a "get tough" policy hurts everyday Cubans whose livelihoods are increasingly rooted in travel and tourism.
 
In his statement, Flake called for the Senate’s GOP leadership to allow a vote on his legislation that he said would eliminate “archaic restrictions” on travel to Cuba that “do not exist for travel by Americans to any other country in the world.” Flake’s bill has 54 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. Among them are Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Jerry Moran of Kansas.
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Trump’s new Cuba policy “will hurt the United States economically, making it harder for our nation’s farmers to access new markets and cutting the knees out from under our travel and manufacturing industries.”
 
Emmer, who’s been one of Trump’s most enthusiastic backers on Capitol Hill, echoed Crawford’s criticism, saying Trump’s Cuba directive appears to be in violation of his promise to keep the American homeland safe. Emmer, Crawford and five other House Republicans have warned that rolling back U.S. Cuba policy could threaten new bilateral agreements with Havana to combat human trafficking, illicit drugs and cyber crimes.
 
Moran said in a statement that “putting America first means exporting what we produce to countries across the globe.” He said he remains focused on finding ways to “increase trade with Cuba rather than cut off relationships that have the potential to create new jobs, bring in revenue and boost our national economy.”
 
Moran backs legislation to restore trade with Cuba in addition to supporting Flake’s legislation.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Trump’s policy moves the U.S. backward.
"It would be more effective to continue an open line of communication and working relationship with a government in need of democratic assistance, instead of shutting them out," Boozman said. "Through this approach, we not only trade goods, but ideas."
 
The Associated Press' Richard Lardner contributed to this story. 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.