Cuba doesn't need 'lessons' from the US — Castro to Trump

Cuba doesn't need 'lessons' from the US — Castro to Trump

Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday said that Donald Trump's hardline stance towards the country marks "a setback" in relations with the United States after ties were gradually restored in 2015.

"The announcements made by the current president (...) mean a setback in the bilateral relations", said Mr. Castro at the closing session of the Parliament of cuba, broadcast with a delay by the television official.

"Cuba has much to be proud of, and it does not have to receive lessons from the United States or anyone else", he said during the session.

Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday denounced US President Donald Trump's partial rollback of the US-Cuban detente, saying it ignored broad public support for better relations and would satisfy only a few Cuban-American hard-liners. In reality, he left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened US embassy in Havana.

Mr Trump has tightened restrictions on US travel to and business with the communist island.

The government said Cuba's economy shrank last year by 1 percent amid falling help from Venezuela, which is struggling with triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages of food and other basic goods.

But both countries will keep their embassies open and Trump will not reimplement the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that gave asylum to Cuban nationals who arrived on U.S. soil, a policy that Obama ended. "But no one should expect that for this, one should have to make concessions inherent to one's sovereignty and independence".

Castro said Trump had clearly been ill-informed about Cuba's history with the United States and Cubans' patriotism. Havana also hit back at Washington for criticizing its human rights record and accused the US government of illegal detention and torture of prisoners in the US prison of Guantanamo. Obama is reportedly planning a historic visit to Cuba in March. His generation, which has ruled Cuba since the 1959 revolution, is dying.

Castro called the new measures a toughening of the US embargo against the island, imposed since 1962, saying they evoked "an old and hostile rhetoric that characterised the Cold War".