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Cuba calls Trump speech on island ‘grotesque spectacle’

VIENNA: US President Donald Trump’s speech on Cuba was a “grotesque spectacle,” but the island’s government will continue working towards better relations with the majority of Americans who back detente, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday.

Trump announced a partial rollback of the normalization of relations with Cuba on Friday in Miami, the heartland of Cuban exiles, in a theater named after the leader of the failed US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of the island in 1961.

“It was a grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold War,” Rodriguez said in Vienna, during a tour of European countries, in a news conference broadcast live in Cuba.

Trump’s speech before an audience that included people Cuba considers terrorists, included dramatic flourishes like a Cuban- American exile playing the US national anthem on his violin.

The US president stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba, restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostility and leaves many recent agreements between the two countries intact.

However, it will tighten restrictions on Americans traveling to the Caribbean island, hurting the booming Cuban tourism industry and clamp down on US business dealings with Cuba’s military.

“It is necessary to wait for the US government to announce regulations that implement these measures before opining on their reach and depth,” Rodriguez said.

He added, however, that they would inevitably hit US companies and citizens by restricting their ability to invest in or travel to Cuba, while also hurting the Cuban people.

“It will wreak economic damage not just on Cuba’s state companies but also on the cooperatives and private sector workers,” he said.

Copyright Reuters, 2017

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