Cuba Slams US Blockade Days Before Trump Expected to Roll Back Normalization of Ties

(Telesur) – The statements come just days before Trump is expected to announce policies that will reverse the historic thaw in U.S-Cuba relations.

Ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected reversal of Barack Obama’s historic rapprochement with Cuba, Havana sharply criticized Tuesday the decades-long blockade against the island nation.

A press release from the island’s permanent mission to the United Nations slammed the U.S.-imposed economic, commercial and financial blockade, citing a recent fine levied against American Honda Finance Corporation’s Canadian subsidiary as an example.

That fine has been the first of its kind imposed by the White House since Trump took office. However, the mission noted, in the last two and a half years, even while Obama was in office, the U.S. government imposed more than US$2.8 million worth of fines against a total of 11 entities, six from the U.S. and four international ones.

The mission noted that the recent US $87,255 fine against AHFC impacts not only Cuban diplomats, but Canadian citizens and companies as well.

It was levied after AHFC approved and financed 13 agreements linked to car rentals by the Cuban Embassy in Canada from a Honda dealership in Ottawa, between February 2011 and March 2014.

Cuba’s response come days before Trump will head to Miami Friday, where he is expected to announce reversals to Obama’s historic move to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, which for the first time in years saw embassies reopen, direct flights resume and companies conduct business.

Ahead of Trump’s visit, secretary of state Rex Tillerson reprimanded Cuba’s alleged human right violations, echoing longstanding hostility toward Cuba from Washington. 

The United States and Cuba announced plans in December 2014 to re-establish long-frozen relations. Since then, the two countries have seen landmark reforms in U.S. policy toward Cuba and bilateral ties between the two nations.

However, Cuba maintains that the normalization of ties will not be complete until the United States lifts the blockade against the island, closes down the U.S. military base at Guantanamo and commits to fully respecting Cuban sovereignty.

Calls to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba also continue to be echoed internationally. Last week over 200 representatives from various Cuban solidarity groups gathered at the 14th State Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba in the northern region of the Basque Country in Spain.

Last year, the United Nations General Assembly rejected the blockade on Cuba for the 25th consecutive year, calling for an end to the Cold War measure. In a historic first, the United States abstained in the vote. 

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