Raul Castro warns of ‘a setback’ in US-Cuba relations

Rhul Castro

HAVANA, Cuba – Cuban President Raul Castro said that Donald Trump’s hardline stance towards the country marks “a setback” in relations with the United States after ties were gradually restored in 2015.

“The announcements made by the current president… mean a setback in bilateral relations,” Castro said  on Friday in remarks, broadcast on state television, at the closing of the first session of Cuba’s Parliament.

Castro criticised Trump’s partial rollback of his predecessor Barack Obama’s rapprochement with the communist island in comments made less than a week before the second anniversary of Havana embassy’s reopening in Washington.

The remarks came after Trump in June — standing before a crowd of anti-Castro activists in Miami’s Little Havana — announced tightened rules for Americans travelling to Cuba, banned ties with a military-run tourism firm and reaffirmed the existing US trade embargo.

Castro called the new measures a toughening of the US embargo against the island, imposed since 1962, saying they evoked “an old and hostile rhetoric that characterised the Cold War.”