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 theater. 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 reestablish
diplomatic relations and engage
in a process towards the normalization of
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 travelers
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.
Trump also abrogated Presidential Policy
Directive “Normalization of Relations
between the United States and Cuba”,
issued by President Obama on October
14, 2016. Although said Directive
did not conceal the interventionist
character of the US policy nor the fact
that its main purpose was to advance US
interests in order to bring about changes
in the economic, political and social
systems of our country, it did recognize
Cuba’s independence, sovereignty and
self-determination and the Cuban
government as a legitimate and equal
interlocutor, as well as the benefits that
a civilized coexistence would have for
both countries and peoples despite the
great differences that exist between
both governments. The Directive also
conceded that the blockade is an obsolete
policy and that it should be lifted.
Once again, the US Government
resorts to coercive methods of the past
when it adopts measures aimed at
stepping up the blockade, effective since
February 1962, which not only causes
harm and deprivations to the Cuban
people and is the main obstacle to our
economic development, but also affects
the sovereignty and interests of other
countries, which arouses international
The measures announced impose
additional obstacles to the already
very limited opportunities that the US
business sector had in order to trade with
and invest in Cuba.
Likewise, those measures restrict even
more the right of US citizens to visit our
country, which was already limited due
to the obligation of using discriminatory
licenses, at a moment when the US
Congress, echoing the feelings of broad
sectors of that society, calls not only for
an end to the travel ban, but also for the
elimination of the restrictions on the
trade with Cuba.
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.
Instead, the US President, who has been
once again ill-advised, is taking decisions
that favor the political interests of an
irrational minority of Cuban origin in
the state of Florida which, out of petty
motivations, does not give up its intent to
punish Cuba and its people for exercising
the legitimate and sovereign right of
being free and having taken the reins of
their own destiny.
Later on, we shall make a deeper analysis
of the scope and implications of the
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
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 are 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 labor 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 marginalized; there is an attempt to put up walls that discriminate against and denigrate neighbor 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; extrajudicial executions and the death of civilians caused by drones; as well as the wars unleashed against countries like Iraq, under false pretenses like the possession of weapons of mass destruction, with disastrous consequences for the peace, security and stability in the Middle East.
It should be recalled that Cuba is a State Party to 44 international human rights instruments, while the US is only a State Party to 18. Therefore, we have much to show, say and defend.
Upon confirming the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations, Cuba and the United States ratified their intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter. In its Declaration issued on July 1, 2015, the Revolutionary Government of Cuba reaffirmed that “these relations must be founded on absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, without interference in any form; and sovereign equality and reciprocity, which constitute inalienable principles of International Law”, as was established in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), at its second summit held in Havana. Cuba has not renounced these principles, nor will it ever do so.
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 civilized 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.
The changes that need to be made in Cuba, as those that have been made since 1959 and the ones that we are introducing now as part of the process to update our economic and social system, will continue to be sovereignly determined by the Cuban people.
Just as we have been doing since the triumph of the Revolution on January 1st, 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.
Havana, June 16, 2017.
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