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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Cuba rejects new US policy, saying pressure will not work



HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s foreign minister has rejected President Donald Trump’s new policy toward the island, saying “we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat” and refusing to return U.S. fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna Monday that Trump’s restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government. He said they would instead create unity behind the communist leadership.

He described fugitives such as Joanne Chesimard, a black militant convicted of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, as political refugees who had received asylum from the Cuban government and would not be returned because the U.S. has no “legal or moral basis” to demand their return.

Meantime, Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped craft the new policy, continues to sell it, with an op/ed in the Miami Herald, co-authored by Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

They write: "Nothing will change in Cuba as long as GAESA maintains its tight control over the economy, and freedoms are not protected. President Trump understands this, and his new Cuba policy will ensure that the United States truly empowers the Cuban people instead of the dictatorship. The changes he announced will assist Cubans struggling for liberty by ensuring that U.S. policy toward Cuba actually benefits the Cuban people.

"The new policy will also enforce human rights protections for Cubans and help connect them to the free world by guaranteeing free and unimpeded access to information, including from sources currently unavailable to the majority of Cubans such as telecommunications and the internet. The right to independent, outside information from any source is a fundamental right protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. U.S. policy must support that right."

[Last modified: Monday, June 19, 2017 11:20am]


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