The Cuban Foreign Minister further observed that the US blockade continues to be an asphyxiating reality for Cuba. The recent announcements by the United States authorizing the use of the dollar in transactions with Cuba are empty, he stated, since Cuban banks continue to be prohibited from opening accounts in US banks. Cuba is not able, he maintained, to have normal financial transactions.
Rodríguez further noted that relations between the United States and Cuba cannot be considered normal while the United States continues to usurp Cuban territory in Guantanamo and to finance programs and radio and television transmissions that seek to change the Cuban constitutional order. He declared that Washington retains its objective of dominating Cuba economically and politically, as is indicated by the recent openings in the US regulation of the sanctions in the areas of telecommunications and support for the non-state sector, changes that seek to construct opposition to the government.
The Foreign Minister observed that the speeches of Obama may be agreeable, but a friendly phrase, a smile, or a gesture of sympathy cannot induce Cubans to forget the long history of the blockade, under which 77% of Cubans have been born.
Rodríguez referred to the reflections by Fidel Castro published on March 28, in which Fidel asserted that Cuba needs no gifts from the empire (“Fidel reflects on Obama visit to Cuba” 3/30/2016). The Foreign Minister characterized the reflections as extraordinarily timely, in light of Fidel’s extraordinary ethical, political and historical authority among the Cuban people, and in general, in international public opinion.
The Cuban Minister stated that Cuba is disposed to construct a relation with the United States based on dialogue and cooperation, but Cuba will not renounce even a millimeter of the principles of its revolution, or of its independence.
Cuba has persistently stated that it welcomes the normalization of relations with the United States, but with sovereignty. It will not modify its political-economic-cultural system in exchange for normalization (see “Cuba insists on its sovereignty” 3/18/2016). The comments by the Cuban Foreign Minister indicate that Cuba persists in this commitment and has not been persuaded by US President Barack Obama, who indicated during his visit to Cuba that the US Congress will act more quickly to eliminate the blockade if progress is made concerning US-Cuban differences with respect to human rights and democracy.
Key words: Cuba, Obama, Fidel, normalization