June 27, 2017
Building and Deepening Canada-Cuba
Canadian Network on Cuba Holds
Eighth Biennial Convention
Montreal picket against U.S. blockade of Cuba, June 17, 2017.
• Canadian Network on Cuba Holds Eighth
U.S. Imposes Draconian
Fine for Transaction Conducted in Canada
• No to Extraterritorial Application of the
U.S. Blockade! No to U.S. Violation of Canadian Sovereignty! - Isaac Saney, National Spokesperson,
Canadian Network On Cuba
• Statement of Permanent Mission of Cuba to the
New Hostile Measures
• Declaration of Revolutionary Government of
• Press Conference by Cuban Minister of Foreign
Building and Deepening Canada-Cuba
Canadian Network on Cuba Holds
Eighth Biennial Convention
From June 3-4, Canada-Cuba solidarity and
organizations from across the country held the very successful
8th Biennial Convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba in Toronto City
Hall. After the
acknowledgment that delegates and guests were meeting on
traditional and unceded Indigenous territory, Chief Stacey Laforme of
the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation opened the
convention with a powerful message on the unity and fraternity of
the world's peoples.
The Convention then paid homage to the late Fidel
historic leader of the Cuban Revolution. The tribute was rendered
through a poignant and moving video, followed by all delegates
and guests rising for a minute of silence.
Invited guests included Deborah Ojeda (Minister
Embassy of Cuba), Tania López Larroque (Cuban Consul
General in Toronto), Sandra Ramírez (Director, North American
Desk of the
Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples -- ICAP) and other
Cuban diplomats and guests. Messages of greetings were received
from among others, Canadian Senator Pierrette Ringuette, co-chair
of the Canada-Cuba Inter-Parliamentary Group; the U.S. National
Network On Cuba; and Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with
Cuba, who were unable to attend the Convention.
Luis Morlote Rivas, Vice-President, Cuban Union of Writers and Artists
and a member of the
Cuban National Assembly speaks at June 3 evening event, "Cuba Moving
Forward in 2017."
The Convention also had the distinct honour and
hosting Luis Morlote Rivas, Vice-President, Cuban Union of
Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and a member of the Cuban National
Assembly. At the Saturday, June 3 evening public
event, "Cuba Moving Forward in 2017," he spoke to a packed
audience at Friends House. Morlote Rivas arrived in Toronto
after participating in the profound and detailed discussions by
Cuba's parliamentarians on the nation's social and economic
development. During his presentation, he emphasized Cuba's
determination to renew its revolutionary and nation-building
project, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. He also
stressed that Cuba would continue on its path of building a society of
ever greater equity and justice. World famous photographer Roberto
Chile also spoke. His acclaimed exhibit on Fidel Castro is now on
display at the Embassy of Cuba in Ottawa and there are plans for a
Pre-convention event June 2, 2017 "Fidel! Cuba! Africa! Africa's
In addition to plenary sessions, a pre-convention
lecture and three convention panels were also held. The Friday,
June 2, pre-convention event, "Fidel! Cuba! Africa! Africa's
Children Return!" took place in front of a full house at A
Different Booklist, where historian and Cuba specialist Isaac
Saney explored the history and impressive dimensions of the Cuban
Revolution's solidarity with Africa.
The first Convention panel, "Updating the Cuban
featuring Deborah Ojeda and Isaac Saney, underscored the extensive
democratic participation of the Cuban people as the country updates and
renews its economy. On the second panel, "Defend Cuba and Latin
Sovereignty and Independence," Sandra Ramírez and Felipe Stuart
(Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network) outlined the historic
victory for democracy, sovereignty and peace embodied in the Cuban
Revolution. On the third panel, "Building Solidarity with Cuba in
Canada," panelists Nino Pagliccia (Canada-Cuba Friendship
Association-Vancouver), Don Foreman (Canadian Union of Postal Workers),
and Yamil Martínez (ICAP) emphasized that despite the
restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington, the
U.S. economic war against Cuba continues unabated, and that
opportunities exist to expand and elaborate solidarity with Cuba
throughout Canadian society, especially amongst workers.
Panellists (top left to bottom right): Isaac Saney, Deborah Ojeda,
Sandra Ramírez, Felipe Stuart, Nino Pagliccia, Yamil
Martínez and Don Foreman.
During the plenaries and panels, delegates reaffirmed
CNC's commitment to continue to deepen the ties of friendship and
solidarity between the peoples of Canada and Cuba, resolving to
do the utmost to defeat the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, end its
ongoing campaign of subversion and ensure the return
to Cuba of the illegally occupied territory of the U.S. naval
base at Guantánamo Bay. Delegates also highlighted the
of the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement in ensuring that
Canada-Cuba relations remain based on the international norms of
mutual respect and equality between nations.
Toward these ends, steps were taken to strengthen the
CNC's work. Several resolutions and initiatives were adopted that
established the priorities for the next two years, including mobilizing
Canadian public and political opinion against U.S. policy and acts of
aggression against Cuba, organizing and supporting activities
commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernesto "Che"
Guevara, and strengthening the work with members of parliament and
legislatures. Under this mandate a new seven-member executive was
elected: Iris Cogger, Julio Fonseca, Don Foreman, Elizabeth Hill,
Michael O'Neill, Isaac Saney and Saleh Waziruddin. Elizabeth Hill and
Isaac Saney were re-elected as the co-chairs of the new executive.
Subsequently, Isaac Saney, Elizabeth Hill and Saleh Waziruddin were,
respectively, re-appointed National Spokesperson, Treasurer and
At the Convention's closing, the CNC expressed its
confidence that the Cuban people will overcome any challenges
that they face. The CNC also reaffirmed that the Cuban people can
count on the ongoing and undiminished solidarity and friendship
of Canadians. This solidarity and friendship is rooted in the
overwhelming respect of Canadians for Cuba's right to
independence and self-determination, and a profound admiration
for what the Cuban people have accomplished despite facing the
unceasing aggression of the United States. This respect and
admiration have forged unbreakable ties of friendship and
solidarity between the people of Canada and Cuba.
U.S. Imposes Draconian Fine for
Transaction Conducted in Canada
No to Extraterritorial Application
of the U.S. Blockade!
No to U.S. Violation of Canadian Sovereignty!
June 17, 2017 picket in Vancouver against U.S. blockade of Cuba.
Pickets take place monthly.
The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) denounces the
of the sovereignty of Canada by the Office of Foreign Assets
Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department. OFAC fined the
American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) $87,255 for approving
and financing between February 2011 and March 2014 the leasing by
Honda Canada Finance Inc. of 13 cars to the Embassy of Cuba in
This is an unambiguous act of hostility against Cuba
out within Canada by Washington. The extraterritorial application
of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba targets not only Canada, as
the AHFC is a subsidiary of the American Honda Motor Company,
which is itself owned by Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and based in Japan,
not the U.S.
Because Honda Canada Finance Inc. is a majority-owned
subsidiary company of American Honda Motor Company, Washington
insists that it follow U.S. law as demanded by the 1992
Torricelli Act and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act.
In short, U.S. law supplants Canadian law within Canada!
Not only is this a violation of the sovereignty of
contravenes the Canadian Foreign Extraterritorial Measures
In response to the Torricelli Act and the Helms-Burton Act,
the Government of Canada specifically amended FEMA in order
to protect Canada against the increasing extraterritorial nature
of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. Thus, FEMA prohibits
Canadian corporations from complying with the extraterritorial
measures of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba
This violation of Canadian sovereignty by the U.S.
Department illustrates that Washington not only wages an economic
blockade against Cuba but also a diplomatic and political
Is this extraterritorial interference in Canadian
a warning that Canada-Cuba relations is now a direct target of
the Trump administration?
The CNC calls on the Government of Canada to uphold the
country's sovereignty and reject this or any other effort to
implement in Canada the internationally condemned and illegal
U.S. economic blockade of Cuba.
The CNC urges the Canadian government and
not to allow Canada's policy towards and relations with Cuba to
be targeted or undermined.
Statement of Permanent Mission of Cuba
to the United Nations
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the
Treasury Department levied a new fine upon American Honda Finance
Corporation (AHFC), which amounts to $87,255 for violating the
regulations of the U.S. blockade against Cuba.
OFAC claimed in this case that one of Canada's AHFC
subsidiaries approved and financed 13 car lease arrangements
between a Honda dealer and the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa between
February 2011 and March 2014.
The sanction to AHFC, the first of its kind under
Trump's Administration, shows the persistence of the economic,
commercial and financial blockade and its extraterritorial scope,
with the consequential negative implications on Cuba's economic
and social development as well as external economic
Since the announcements of 17 December 2014, the
States government has fined 11 entities -- seven American and
four foreign companies -- with a value of $2,842,429,064. This
new fine is added to the long list of extraterritorial sanctions
imposed by the U.S. government, under the framework of laws
governing the economic, commercial and financial blockade against
This not only hampers the work of Cuban diplomats in
country, but also harms Canadian citizens and companies that
maintain relations with Cuban entities.
U.S. Administration's New Hostile Measures
Declaration of Revolutionary Government of Cuba
Monthly picket at U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, June 17, 2017
On June 16, 2017, the President of the United States,
Donald Trump, in a speech full of hostile rhetoric that recalled
the times of open confrontation against our country, announced in
a theatre in Miami his government's policy towards Cuba. The
policy reverses the advances made in the last two years since
Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama announced on December 17,
2014 the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations and begin
a process towards the normalization of bilateral ties.
In what constitutes a setback in relations between the
countries, Trump made a speech and signed a directive policy
called "Presidential Memorandum of National Security on
Strengthening U.S. Policy towards Cuba," stating the elimination of
individual "people-to-people" educational exchanges and greater
oversight of U.S. travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of
the economic, commercial and financial transactions of U.S.
companies with Cuban companies linked to the Revolutionary Armed
Forces and Intelligence and security services, all with the aim
of depriving us of income.
The U.S. president justified this policy with alleged
about the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to
rigorously apply the laws of the blockade, conditioning its
lifting, as well as any improvement in bilateral relations, for
our country to make fundamental changes to its constitutional
Trump also repealed the Presidential Policy Directive
"Normalization of U.S.-Cuba Relations," issued by President Obama
on October 14, 2016, which, while not obscuring the intrusive
nature of U.S. policy, nor the goal of advancing its interests in
the pursuit of changes in the economic, political and social
order of our country, had recognized the independence,
sovereignty and self-determination of Cuba and the Cuban
government as a legitimate and equal interlocutor, as well as the
benefits it would bring to both countries and peoples a
relationship of civilized coexistence within the great
differences that exist between the two governments. He also
admitted that the blockade was an obsolete policy and should be
The Government of the United States has once again
to the coercive methods of the past, adopting measures to
reinforce the blockade in place since February 1962, and which
not only inflicted damages and deprivation upon the Cuban people
and constitutes an undeniable obstacle to the development of our
economy, but also impacts the sovereignty and interests of other
countries, prompting international condemnation.
The announced measures impose additional obstacles to
very restricted opportunities that the U.S. business sector had to
trade and invest in Cuba.
In turn, they further restrict the right of U.S.
visit our country, already limited by the obligation to use
discriminatory licenses, at a time when the United States
Congress, as a reflection of the broad sectors of that society,
calls not only for an end to the travel ban, but also for the
lifting of restrictions on trade with Cuba.
President Trump's announcement contradicts the majority
support of American public opinion, including that of Cuban
emigration in that country, in favour of the total lifting of the
blockade and normal relations between Cuba and the United
Instead, the U.S. president, again badly advised, made
decisions that favour the political interests of an extremist
minority of Cuban origin in the state of Florida, and who for
petty reasons will not give up their claim to punish Cuba and its
people or permit them to exercise the legitimate and sovereign
right to be free and take the reins of their own destiny.
Later on we will provide a more thorough analysis of
scope and implications of this announcement.
The Cuban Government denounces the new measures to
the blockade, which are destined to fail as was shown repeatedly
in the past, and which will not achieve their purpose of
weakening the Revolution or defeating the Cuban people, whose
resistance to aggression of any type and origin has been proven
over almost six decades.
The Government of Cuba rejects manipulation for
purposes and double standards in the treatment of human rights.
The Cuban people enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms, and
demonstrate achievements of which they are proud and which are
only a dream for many countries in the world, including the
United States itself, such as the right to health, education,
social security, equal pay for equal work, children's rights and
the right to food, peace and development. With its modest
resources, Cuba has also contributed to the improvement of human
rights in many parts of the world, despite the limitations
imposed by its status as a blockaded country.
The United States is not in a position to give us
have serious concerns about the respect for and guarantee of
human rights in that country, where there are numerous cases of
murder, brutality and police abuses, particularly against the
African-American population; the right to life is violated as a
result of gun deaths; child labour is being exploited and there
are serious manifestations of racial discrimination; there are
threats to impose more restrictions on health services, which
would leave 23 million people without health insurance; there is
wage inequality between men and women; migrants and refugees are
marginalized, particularly those from Islamic countries; there is
an intent to erect walls that denigrate neighbours as well as to
abandon international commitments to preserve the environment and
address climate change.
Human rights violations committed by the United States
other countries, such as the arbitrary detention of dozens of
prisoners in the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo
Navy Base in Cuba, where they have even been tortured, are also a
matter of concern; as are extrajudicial executions and the deaths
of civilians caused by bombs and the use of drones; and the wars
unleashed against various countries like Iraq, based on lies
about the possession of weapons of mass destruction, with dire
consequences for the peace, security and stability of the Middle
We recall that Cuba is a state signatory of 44
instruments on human rights, while the United States belongs only
to 18, so we have much to show, speak up about and defend.
In confirming the decision to re-establish diplomatic
relations, Cuba and the United States ratified their intention to
develop respectful and cooperative ties between the two peoples
and governments, based on the principles and purposes enshrined
in the Charter of the United Nations. In its Declaration, issued
on July 1, 2015, the Cuban Revolutionary Government reaffirmed
that these relations must be based on absolute respect for our
independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every
state to choose the political, economic, social and cultural
system, without interference in any way; and sovereign equality
and reciprocity, which are inalienable principles of
international law, as endorsed by the Latin American and
Caribbean Proclamation as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of
State and Government of the Community of Latin American and
Caribbean States (CELAC), at its II Summit, in Havana. Cuba has
not renounced these principles and will never give them up.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its willingness to
a respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual
interest, as well as the negotiation of pending bilateral issues
with the United States Government. In the last two years, it has
been demonstrated that the two countries can coexist, as the
President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General
Raul Castro Ruz has repeatedly expressed, can cooperate and
coexist civilly, by respecting our differences and promoting
everything that benefits both nations and peoples, but it should
not be expected that Cuba will make concessions with regards to
its sovereignty and independence, nor will it accept any kind of
Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic
social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve this through
pressure and force, or by using more subtle methods, will be
doomed to failure.
The changes that are necessary in Cuba, such as those
since 1959 and those that we are undertaking now as part of the
process of updating our economic and social model, will continue
to be decided by the sovereign Cuban people.
As we have done since the triumph on January 1, 1959,
will confront any risk and continue to stand firm and confident
in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic,
prosperous and sustainable nation.
Press Conference by Cuban Minister
of Foreign Relations
Cuba will not make concessions
essential to its
sovereignty and independence,
nor will it negotiate its principles or
TML Weekly is publishing below a transcript
of the press
conference held by Cuba's Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno
Parrilla in Vienna, Austria on June 19.
Rodríguez elaborates the position of the Cuban government and
with regards to the new hostile measures announced by the U.S.
administration on June 16.
Moderator: Welcome to this
has been called by the Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of
Cuba, the honorable Bruno Rodríguez
Parilla. The Minister will presently make a statement in the Spanish
English languages, and then take a few questions.
We would like to inform all those present that
services in English are available at this conference. That said,
Minister, over to you.
I wish to express my condolences to the people and
Portugal for the disaster which has cost dozens of human lives; as well
as to the government and people of the
United Kingdom following recent events in London.
I convey our most heartfelt condolences to the people
government of Colombia regarding the terrorist attack which has led to
Last June 16, the President of the United States Donald
announced in Miami the policy his government has decided to implement
with regard to Cuba.
The Cuban government, meanwhile, issued an official
statement. Cuban civil society organizations have also made
Among others, the President of the United States
following measures: the prohibition of economic, commercial and
financial relations between U.S. companies and Cuban
entities linked to the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and
the Ministry of the Interior; the prohibition of individual travel by
U.S. citizens under the category of
"people-to-people" exchanges, and greater monitoring of all travelers;
as well as a review of all the programs directed against Cuba's
constitutional order, to supposedly ensure their
Also repealed was the Presidential Directive issued by
Barack Obama in October 2016, which despite being profoundly
interventionist, and aimed at changing the
constitutional order of the Republic of Cuba, did however recognize our
country's independence, sovereignty, and self-determination; Cuba's
revolutionary government as a legitimate and
equal interlocutor, and also proposed a new civilized relationship
intended to benefit both peoples.
The Directive, which has now been vacated, also
blockade as a failed policy, which has been unsuccessful, failed to
achieve its objectives, and should be eliminated.
All of these measures were announced in a theater named
Manuel Artime, civilian leader of the mercenary brigade that invaded
our country at Playa Girón or the Bay of Pigs. It
was a grotesque Cold War-era spectacle, made before a small audience,
composed of old henchmen and thieves of the Batista dictatorship,
mercenaries from the Playa Girón brigade,
terrorists, demagogues and "lackeys."
President Trump greeted several of these individuals by
was surrounded or accompanied by others at the time of the signing.
These included a terrorist arrested in 1995 in
California, with an arsenal of weapons to be used to commit violent
actions, and who was implicated in an assassination attempt on
President Fidel Castro Ruz in 1997. Another was part of
a 1974 armed infiltration in Cuba; a third was the author of terrorist
actions and pirate attacks at sea on Cuban fishing boats, between 1972
Also present was the spouse of a sergeant who committed
torture during the Batista dictatorship, and one of those responsible
for financing the planting of bombs at tourist
locations in Cuba which exploded in 1997, as revealed by infamous
terrorist Posada Carriles in an interview with the New York Times. As
we know, Posada Carriles was the author of the
mid-flight bombing of a Cubana de Aviación civilian aircraft in
the first terrorist act against an aircraft in flight.
Many of these individuals worked for the CIA at some
I strongly protest the United States government given
derision, and implore it to confirm or deny if the terrorists I have
mentioned were beside President Trump or not. This is an
affront to the Cuban people, to the people of the world, and to the
victims of international terrorism across the globe.
When, during this show, the President of the United
to the father of the out-of-tune violinist who played the U.S. national
anthem, he failed to state that Captain
Bonifacio Haza, mentioned on several occasions by the President of the
United States, was directly responsible for the murders of Carlos
and Orlando Carvajal toward the end of the
Batista dictatorship, and personally participated in the murder of
well-known revolutionary fighter Frank País, as well as his
Raúl Pujol, and later, Frank País' younger brother,
who was only 19 years of age at the time.
This is an outrage our people will never forget.
The packed audience was completed by several foreign
agents who are
paid by U.S. government agencies in Cuba. These are the new mercenaries.
It was outrageous to see this annexationist and
Plattist audience respond to every phrase against Cuba, chanting "USA,
President Trump's policy without a doubt marks a step
bilateral relations, as has been recognized by countless voices within
and outside of the United States, the majority of
which outrightly reject the announced changes.
I anticipate that said measures will affect relations
government of the United States and those of Latin America and the
Caribbean, and will severely damage the credibility
of its foreign policy.
These frankly unpopular measures ignore overwhelming
the lifting of the blockade and the normalization of relations with
Cuba by members of the U.S. Congress, many of
whom are Republicans; the country's business sector; various civil
society organizations; the Cuban émigré community; the
networks; and public opinion in general.
President Trump -- once again ill-advised -- who lost
the vote of
Cubans in the counties with the highest concentration of Cuban
residents during the Presidential elections in Florida;
who lost the Cuban vote in Florida, is making decisions which only
benefit the petty interests of an aging, extremist minority of Cuban
origin and a handful of politicians.
Any measured analysis leads one to anticipate that, as
in the past,
the announced measures will not meet the proclaimed objectives, but
rather the opposite: they will restrict the
freedoms of U.S. citizens, cost taxpayers more money, reduce the
opportunities of companies and business people against their
competition, lose income and jobs.
It is necessary to wait until the government of the
reveals the regulations that will implement these measures before
expressing an opinion on their scope and depth.
These measures also ignore the overwhelming majority
view of the
Cuban people, who wish to have a better relationship with the people of
the U.S. They will cause human harm and
deprivation; they will affect Cuban families. They will bring economic
damage not only to state-owned enterprises in Cuba, but also to
cooperatives, and will especially harm self-employed
or private workers. They will also harm and increase discrimination
against Cuban émigrés settled in the United States.
It seems childish to predict that, with this policy,
they will be
able to separate the people from the government, or the citizens from
our glorious Revolutionary Armed Forces and
Ministry of the Interior, who are the uniformed people. On the
contrary, these measures reinforce our patriotism, our dignity, our
determination to defend national independence by all
means, in the spirit of José Martí, Antonio Maceo and
Fidel Castro Ruz.
Cuba vigorously rejects the new measures that
blockade, which we will denounce in the next United Nations General
Assembly, because it is unjust, inhumane,
genocidal, extraterritorial, and in violation of International Law and
the sovereignty of all states.
I firmly reject the political manipulation and double
addressing the issue of human rights by President Trump. The United
States government has no moral authority, it
cannot give lectures on human rights or on democracy. Cuba has much to
show and say on this matter.
The new measures are not at all democratic. According
U.S. surveys, 73 per cent of U.S. citizens, 63 per cent of Cuban
residents, and 62 per cent of Republicans support the
lifting of the blockade -- curious that: 62 per cent of Republicans.
The normalization of bilateral ties is favored by 75 per cent, three
quarters, of U.S. citizens; 69 per cent of Cuban
residents, and 62 per cent of Republicans.
Among Cubans in the United States, the younger they
are, the more
support there is for the lifting of the blockade and normalization.
However, the new measures reinforce the ban on U.S.
traveling as tourists to Cuba, and restrict their civil liberties; they
limit the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel.
As regards human rights, in the United States there are
and systematic murders, brutality, and abuses by police, particularly
against Afro-Americans. The limits on the right
to healthcare, pay inequality for women, the lack of educational
access, the almost absent unionization, the repression against
immigrants and refugees, the marginalization of minorities and
the increasing discrimination against Islamic culture and religion are
The war crimes and the killing of civilians in U.S.
attacks and interventions are frequent. The imprisonment, without
trial, and the massive and systematic use of torture in the
Guantánamo Naval Base are brutal.
I reiterate Cuba's willingness to continue the
and cooperation in areas of mutual interest and to negotiate pending
bilateral issues with the United States, on the basis
of equality and absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty.
As demonstrated by the advances achieved in the last
Cuba and the United States can cooperate and coexist in a civilized
manner, respecting the profound differences
between our governments and promoting all that benefits both countries
We will continue our efforts together with people of
good will in
the United States, who are the vast majority. But I advise you: Cuba
will not make concessions essential to its
sovereignty and independence, will not negotiate its principles or
accept conditions, as it has never done, never, throughout the history
of the Revolution. As the Constitution of the Republic
of Cuba establishes, we will never negotiate under pressure or threats.
We will act invoking the Proclamation of Latin America
Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by heads of state and government
of the region in Havana in January 2014,
which recognizes the inalienable right of heads of state to decide
their political, economic, social and cultural system; rejects foreign
intervention and interference in internal affairs, and
opposes and condemns the threat and use of force.
It will not be a Presidential Directive of the United
will thwart the sovereign course of Cuba, as they have been unable to
do in more than 50 yeas of aggression, state
terrorism, blockade, media war, and subversion. We have been through it
all, our people has already been through it all, and have run the risk.
What could they threaten us with today that
they haven't already, and failed?
In Cuba, by the way, no one was on tenterhooks waiting
imperialist announcement. Our people worked as normal, foreign policy
functioned, we demonstrated respect for
Europe on this visit. In fact, the Cuban people, closely linked to
their Communist Party, recently debated and amended the draft
Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model
of Socialist Development and the National Development Plan through
2030, and the upcoming People's Power general elections were called.
The changes that may be necessary in Cuba will be
decided by the Cuban people: only by the Cuban people, as they have
always done. We will not ask anyone else for
their opinion or permission.
Minister will take
Please, we remind you to identify yourselves, use the microphones that
we have placed at both sides of the room.
We open the session.
George Jahn (AP): I
have a question
related to the
ban on U.S. citizens from engaging in relations with the Army. Is Cuba
willing to impose new taxes on those
wishing to do business in Cuba, and will it agree to return Assata
Shakur to the U.S. as requested?
announced, as I have
said, will fundamentally harm U.S. citizens and U.S. companies. The
Cuban government will consider the
measures to be taken in a timely manner. It will be necessary to wait
for the United States government to issue the relevant regulations to
analyze the scope of these measures.
Contrary to the objectives invoked, the measures are
not only a
setback in bilateral relations, but will damage the sectors with which
U.S. businesspeople prefer to deal with in our
Regarding the issue of the so-called "U.S. fugitives in
can reaffirm that, under our national law and international law and the
Latin American tradition, Cuba has granted
political asylum or refuge to U.S. civil rights fighters. Of course
these people will not be returned to the United States, which lacks the
legal, political, and moral foundation to demand
Secondly, U.S. citizens who committed crimes in Cuba,
such as the
hijacking of aircraft, were sentenced by Cuban courts and served long
prison terms in Cuba. By unilateral decision,
and in an act of goodwill, the Cuban government in recent years has
returned to the United States 12 U.S. citizens who were fugitives from
the U.S. justice system.
Vincent Montagud (teleSUR):
to ask you,
Minister, it's been a long time, they are two different historical
moments, but why do you think that President
Trump is now returning to this clearly Cold War rhetoric? Secondly, if
I may, paradoxically, President Trump himself has said that he could
study improvements in relations if concrete
progress is made -- and I quote -- "in certain domestic matters." The
question is: would the government of Cuba be willing to negotiate a new
treaty with the Trump administration?
Thank you very much.
have to ask President
Trump what his real motives are for having performed these latest acts.
I do not know if he could say why in
public. I do not know if the President of the United States has been
badly advised and whether someone has "sold" him the idea that he won
the Florida vote with the Cuban vote or due to
the Cuban vote. If he has been told that, he has been deceived. The
figures exist related to the result of the elections in the five
counties with the highest concentrations of Cuban voters in
Florida, and in all of these President Trump lost the majority vote,
that is, he lost the elections in the counties with citizens of Cuban
origin. There is survey data and the election results
themselves. It can be categorically stated that President Trump did not
win the Cuban vote, and he did not win Florida because of the Cuban
vote, but due to other electoral sectors.
As I have said, Cuba is ready for dialogue,
cooperation, and the
negotiation of pending bilateral issues, just as it will refuse to
negotiate any issue affecting the sovereignty,
independence, and self-determination of the Cuban people.
Just as the Cuban government will not demand of the
government, as a condition for negotiation, that it change elements of
its domestic policy that are very unpopular, and that
we do not like at all, or that it cease the international wars in which
it is involved, or that it have a better standard of protection for the
exercise of human rights in its own country, or that
it stop violating human rights across the world.
We hope that the U.S. government does not make the
expecting that Cuba make internal changes to favor agreements or
President Trump consistently said throughout the
that he supported the change of policy toward Cuba; but that he would
seek "a better arrangement," a better deal
with our country. A better deal would mean lifting the blockade,
returning the territory of the Guantánamo Naval Base, accepting
concept of mutual compensation that would greatly
benefit certified U.S. property owners, due to the nationalizations of
On the other hand, it is false to affirm that President
Obama made concessions to Cuba. He maintained the fundamental elements
of the blockade of Cuba, and attempted to
advance U.S. interests, including the subversion of the constitutional
order of our country. President Trump should recognize, or should know
that a favorable change, the continuity of the
normalization process, the lifting of the blockade, are in the national
interest of the United States, in the interest of U.S. voters, in the
interest of those who pay taxes in the United States,
who sustain the government, and therefore he would not be doing Cuba
any favor, but rather attending to the United States' own interests and
To that extent, yes, there is a willingness to
negotiate with the
U.S. government, to attempt to resolve bilateral issues that affect
both countries, but on the basis of absolute, sovereign
equality and full respect for our sovereignty and independence.
Luisa María González
García (Prensa Latina):
Good afternoon, Minister, if
you would allow me, two questions:
The first, as you have said in your speech, numerous
the growing desire of U.S. society to advance in rapprochement with
Cuba. Given this context, do you believe that
the measures announced by Trump are sustainable over time?
The second concerns Cuba's position. Cuba has
willingness -- you just reaffirmed this -- to dialogue on the basis of
mutual respect and equality of conditions. Why
maintain this position when the interlocutor is not disposed to talks
on these terms?
Thank you very much.
Bruno Rodríguez: The measures
Trump just announced, the scope of which must be seen in the
regulations, are absolutely unsustainable. First,
because there is a historical tendency that defines the era in which we
live. The blockade is a piece of the Cold War; it is criminal,
genocidal, according to the Geneva Convention on
Genocide. In the second place, it is absolutely unjust and arbitrary.
It is a crude, systematic violation, flagrant and systematic, of the
human rights of all Cubans, hurting Cuban families,
causing damage and deprivation.
On the other hand, the blockade infringes on the
interests of U.S.
citizens, of its companies, of its business people, and also
constitutes a violation of the civil liberties and political
rights of U.S. citizens who are prohibited from traveling to Cuba,
Thus there is a historic tendency. Will it be during
administration, or during a subsequent one? But there is no doubt that
history, the era, will oblige the United States
government to lift the blockade and normalize relations with Cuba. And
we have all the patience, the endurance, and the will to wait for that
moment to arrive, and above all, to work
actively to make it happen, in the company of the vast majority of the
U.S. people, of Cuban émigrés, and the international
community -- on the
basis of the sovereign decision and very
broad, majority support of our people.
It is not known if this administration will be an
interlocutor or not. That will be a decision which must be made by the
U.S. government, which will act to the country's
benefit or to its detriment, however it decides, but Cuba is ready to
dialogue, to cooperate, to negotiate on the basis of absolute equality
Brinley Bruton (NBC):
Thank you very
Minister. Would you do me the favor of answering in English. I am going
to ask the question in English, too,
This past week, NBC broadcast an exclusive report on
cooperation between Cuba and the United States which allowed the
Department of Homeland Security in the U.S.
to combat illegal credit card use. Could this change as a result of the
decisions made by President Trump?
Bruno Rodríguez: I don't have
any new information
that the decisions of the U.S. government include the repudiation of
the dozens of agreements signed over the
last two years between the two governments. Nor have I heard of any
measure directed toward impeding bilateral cooperation, in particular
in the area of national security and law
enforcement. It would do no good; it would seriously damage the very
interests of the United States and of its citizens, if the U.S.
government prevented or disassociated itself from
cooperation with Cuba, which is a neighboring country and contributes
to stability in the region, to the solution of regional and hemispheric
problems, which has been a victim of, and
actively fights, international terrorism, as well as drug trafficking;
trafficking in persons; cyber-crime; against the use of digital media
from one country to surreptitiously attack another;
against crimes of fraud, money laundering, in which, necessarily, the
interests of the continent's countries coincide.
Thus I can reaffirm that Cuba will attend to, honor,
signed, and I reiterate our willingness to negotiate and sign new
cooperation agreements in other areas. Because our
way of thinking is to respect, in a civilized manner, the great
differences which exist between our governments, but to advance in all
that can benefit the two peoples, in our national interest
and that of the Cuban people.
Moderator: Minister, we have
received a question from Havana. It's the newspaper Juventud Rebelde,
sent you an e-mail. If you would allow
me, I'll read it: "Minister, the President of the United States would
like to present itself as the defender of the Cuban people and alleges
that the measures just adopted, as part of its policy
toward Cuba, will not affect the Cuban people, but rather only state
enterprises linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces or the Ministry of
the Interior. Nevertheless," Juventud
asks, "Does the tightening of the blockade perhaps not affect the
economic and social life of the country in general? For example, won't
more limitations on travel to Cuba from the U.S.
affect all economic management modalities in Cuba, including the
have a great sense of
humor. It is clear that the measures being implemented by the U.S.
government will harm the Cuban people, and
especially harm sectors with which the U.S. government has expressed
the most interest in building relations. In Cuba, it would be
impossible to hurt the state sector of the economy without
seriously hurting the cooperative sector, the self-employed, or small
private businesses, in particular in the areas that some of these
measures address, like the ban on individual travel by
U.S. citizens under "people-to-people" licenses.
One would think that the U.S. government would pay
attention to the interests of its citizens, than those of Cubans, as
has always occurred in the past, but these measures, no
doubt, prejudice U.S. interests.
The paradox is strange, because the U.S. President has
his priority is the U.S. citizenry, the creation of jobs, seeking
opportunities for U.S. companies and businesses, making
them more competitive.
With these measures, he is doing exactly the opposite.
What is his
motivation? Thinking perhaps of the votes of some Cubans in the United
States, of an aging, illegitimate minority?
Does he want to win some indispensable votes in the Senate? That would
be a good question to ask the President of the United States.
But there is no doubt that these measures contradict
platform which the President proposed to voters, and presumably the
reason he won the Electoral College vote, because we
must remember that President Trump did not win the popular vote, he won
the election with fewer votes than his opponent. That's the way
democracy works in the United States.
Boris Kuznetsov (RT):
afternoon, Mr. Minister.
My question is: Taking a step backward in the
relations with Cuba, Donald Trump has in fact resuscitated the old
political rhetoric of the Cold War. In this sense,
other countries must react in some way to respond to this aggressive
policy of Donald Trump. Russia, for example, yes, has declared that all
of this leads to a new Cold War, this
counterproductive policy toward Cuba.
Trump has presented
himself as a renovator, he won the U.S. elections offering a change to
the U.S. people. What he has done with
Cuba is not innovate, nothing creative, what he has done is return to
the policies of 10 other U.S. administrations, that is, moreover, to a
policy that has failed, over time, to bring the U.S.
closer to the objectives it has proposed. A well known Republican
Senator said: Well, 50 years of a policy that doesn't get results is
reason enough to change it. And this is what President
The famous adage that trying, trying, and trying, again
to do the same thing, expecting to get different results, makes no
sense at all, Einstein said.
Thus there is no doubt that these policies resurrected
ice floes from the Cold War.
One could ask if this is only in policy toward Cuba. I
signs in the international situation, growing threats to peace and
international security, growing instability, the
proliferation of conflicts, an increase in nuclear arsenals and
I also see profound ignorance of the way in which the
these problems must be addressed, including international terrorism,
the only solution to which lies in international
cooperation, not war. In the same way, these policies related to the
egotistical, brutal restriction of trade, and the rejection of the
Paris Accord on climate change, which threatens the
existence of the human race, indicate that the planet is, in fact,
approaching a tempestuous situation.
His Holiness Pope Francis has said, with good reason,
world is already in a Cold War by stages. There is, no doubt, reason to
be worried, and above all to act, to increase
international cooperation, mobilize the world's conscience for the
survival of the human race, and to change an international order that
is incompatible with this survival, which is totally
irrational, unsustainable, and seriously threatens world peace.
Thank you very much.
Moderator: Thank you
very much for
attending this press conference.
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