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Havana lashes out against Trump’s May 20 message to the Cuban people
BY NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

Havana has reacted strongly to a statement issued by President Donald
Trump to the Cuban people over the weekend to mark the 115th anniversary
of the birth of the Republic of Cuba.

A statement read on Cuban state television on Saturday described Trump’s
message as “controversial” and “ridiculous.”

“…the Miami Herald on Saturday published a controversial and
ridiculous message from the ill-advised U.S. President Donald Trump to
the people of Cuba about May 20, a date that the United States considers
as the emergence of the Republic of Cuba, when we actually know that
what was born that day was a Yankee neo-colony, which lived until on
January 1, 1959,” says the statement, referencing the date when Fidel
Castro seized control of the island.

The statement, which was also published on the Cuban TV website, is
signed only as “Official Note” and it is unclear whether it corresponds
to a change of position by the Cuban government, which had been careful
in its statements on the new U.S. president, who has ordered a review of
Cuba policy.

On several occasions, the Cuban government has offered to maintain a
dialogue with the United States.

Official notes from Havana are usually signed by “the Revolutionary
Government” or the governmental entity issuing it. Cuban Television
responds directly to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, a
conservative bastion within the government of Raúl Castro.

The Cuban Embassy in the United States did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.

The statement also references a wire story published in el Nuevo Herald
that focused on “Trump’s slips in state affairs.”

“Even within in the U.S. government there is knowledge of the
contradictory and clumsy pronouncements of the millionaire tycoon turned
president, on issues of politics, both exterior and interior,” the
statement says.

On Sunday, state television continued to lash out with commentator
Oliver Zamora stating in the noon newscast:

“..Now we must really worry about the future of bilateral relations
after this letter from the president-magnate, because he can only
respond to two initial positions, or part of the cynicism, or at best
ignorance.”

Trump’s message, which triggered Havana’s reaction, highlighted “that
cruel despotism cannot extinguish the flame of in the hearts of
Cubans, and that unjust cannot tamper Cubans’ dreams for
their children to live free from oppression.”

Trump also promised that he will work for Cubans on the island to have a
government that respects democracy and civil liberties.

During his campaign, Trump promised to change Cuba policy, and a State
Department official recently said that the United States would seek to
put more pressure on the Cuban government regarding its
record. It was anticipated that an announcement about these changes
would come by Saturday, but it was postponed because of the president’s
trip to the Middle East and because the Cuba policy review has not been
completed, a White House spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald.

FOLLOW NORA GÁMEZ TORRES ON TWITTER: @NGAMEZTORRES

Source: Havana reacts to Trump’s May 20 message to Cubans | Miami Herald

www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article151952832.html

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