The US president partially reversed Washington’s diplomatic and commercial opening to Cuba that was unveiled in 2014. The Kremlin accused Trump of pandering to a small group of Cuban-American voters.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry slammed US President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back US relations with Cuba, accusing Trump of resorting to “Cold War” rhetoric.
“The new line towards Cuba announced by US President Donald Trump takes us back to already half-forgotten rhetoric in the style of the Cold War,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
The statement on Sunday added, “It’s clear the anti-Cuba discourse is still widely needed. This can only induce regret.”
Despite Trump’s campaign pledge to improve relations with Moscow, there has been no discernible improvement in cooperation between the two countries. Indeed, last week, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to support new sanctions against Russia.
On Friday Trump ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to the Caribbean island and a crackdown on US business dealings with the Cuban military. The president said he was canceling former President Barack Obama’s “terrible and misguided deal” liberalizing ties with Havana.
Obama’s opening to Cuba
In December 2014, Obama reestablished diplomatic ties with Cuba for the first time in more than half-a-century. Washington had severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, two years after communist rebels led by Fidel Castro toppled the right-wing government of Fulgencio Batista.
After Castro’s regime nationalized all US property in Cuba in 1960, Washington responded by seizing all Cuban assets on US soil and tightening its comprehensive embargo against the island nation.The US leases the territory of its naval base at Guantanamo Bay, which includes the infamous US detention facility there.
Despite the sanctions, which were intended to inflict sufficient pain on the Cuban government to bring about its collapse, the Castro regime persevered. Obama concluded that the Cold War policy had failed, and sought a policy of detente with Havana.
Moscow maintains close ties with Havana, and in March signed a deal to renew oil shipments to the Caribbean island for the first time in more than a decade.
It said that easing of sanctions under Obama was a “well-thought-out political decision in which there were no losers except marginal Castro opponents.”
bik/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP)