On June 16, 2017, US President Donald Trump delivered a speech full of hostile anti-Cuban rhetoric reminiscent of the times of open confrontation with our country in a Miami theatre. He announced his Government’s Cuba policy, which rolls back the progress achieved over the last two years since December 17, 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and engage in a process towards the normalisation of bilateral relations.
In what constitutes a setback in the relations between both countries, President Trump gave a speech and signed a policy directive titled “National Security Presidential Memorandum”, which provides the elimination of private educational “people-to-people” exchanges and greater control over all travellers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of business, trade and financial transactions between US companies and certain Cuban companies linked to the Armed Revolutionary Forces and the intelligence and security services, under the alleged objective of depriving us from income. The US President justified this policy with alleged concerns over the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously enforce the US blockade laws, conditioning its lifting, as well as any improvements in US-Cuba bilateral relations to our country’s making changes inherent to its constitutional order.
The measures announced by President Trump run counter to the majority support of the US public opinion, including the Cuban emigration in that country, to the total lifting of the blockade and the establishment of normal relations between Cuba and the United States.
The Government of Cuba condemns the new measures to tighten the blockade, which are doomed to failure, as has been repeatedly evidenced in the past, for they will not succeed in their purpose to weaken the Revolution or bend the Cuban people, whose resistance against aggressions of all sorts and origins has been put to the test throughout almost six decades.
The Government of Cuba rejects political manipulation and double standards in human rights. The Cuban people enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms and can proudly show some achievements that are still a chimera for many countries of the world, including the United States, such as the right to health, education and social security; equal pay for equal work, children’s rights as well as the rights to food, peace and development. Cuba, with its modest resources, has also contributed to the improvement of the human rights situation in many countries of the world, despite the limitations inherent to its condition as a blockaded country.
The United States is not in the position to teach us lessons. We have serious concerns about the respect for and guarantees of human rights in that country, where there are numerous cases of murders, brutality and abuses by the Police, particularly against the African-American population; the right to life is violated as a result of the deaths caused by fire arms; child labour is exploited and there are serious manifestations of racial discrimination; there is a threat to impose more restrictions on medical services, which will leave 23 million persons without health insurance; there is unequal pay between men and women; migrants and refugees, particularly those who come from Islamic countries, are marginalised; there is an attempt to put up walls that discriminate against and denigrate neighbour countries; and international commitments to preserve the environment and address climate change are abandoned.
Also a source of concern are the human rights violations by the United States in other countries, such as the arbitrary detention of tens of prisoners in the territory illegally occupied by the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, Cuba, where even torture has been applied.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its will to continue a respectful and cooperative dialogue on topics of mutual interest, as well as the negotiation of outstanding issues with the US Government. During the last two years it has been evidenced that both countries, as was repeatedly expressed by the President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, can cooperate and coexist in a civilised manner, respecting the differences and promoting everything that benefits both nations and peoples, but it should not be expected that, in order to achieve that, Cuba would make concessions inherent to its sovereignty and independence, or accept preconditions of any sort.
Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, either through pressures and impositions or by using more subtle methods, shall be doomed to failure.
Just as we have been doing since the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959, we will take on every risk and shall continue to advance steadfastly and confidently in the construction of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.
Julio César González
Government of Cuba