Monday, March 6, 2017

Cuba’s Raul Castro blasts Trump’s Mexican wall and trade policy

Cuba's Raul Castro blasts Trump's Mexican wall and trade policy
By Marc Frank | HAVANA

Cuban President Raul Castro harshly criticized U.S. President Donald
Trump's immigration, trade and other policies on Sunday as Trump reviews
a fragile detente with Communist-run Cuba begun by his predecessor
Barack Obama.

In his first critical remarks directed at Trump since he took office,
Castro termed his trade policies "egotistical" and his plan to build a
wall along the Mexican border "irrational."

Castro's speech to a summit of leftist leaders in Venezuela was
broadcast by state-run television on Sunday evening.

Before taking office, Trump threatened to torpedo the detente between
the former Cold War foes unless a "better deal" could be struck, without
providing details.

The White House said last month it was in the middle of "a full review
of all U.S. policies toward Cuba."

Castro said: "The new agenda of the U.S. government threatens to unleash
an extreme and egotistical trade policy that will impact the
competitiveness of our foreign trade; violate environmental agreements
... hunt down and deport migrants."

He said migration was due to growing inequality and poverty caused by an
unjust international economic system and that a wall along the Mexican
border was therefore "irrational" and aimed at all Latin Americans, not
just Mexicans.

"You can't contain poverty, catastrophes and migrants with walls, but
with cooperation, understanding and peace," Castro said.

Seeking to reverse more than 50 years of U.S. efforts using isolation to
force Cuba to change, Obama agreed with Castro in December 2014 to work
to normalize relations.

The two close neighbors have since restored diplomatic ties and signed
cooperation agreements.

Trump said last month after having dinner with Florida Senator Marco
Rubio, a vociferous foe of detente, that he and Rubio had similar views
concerning Cuba.

Obama, a Democrat, used executive orders to circumvent the longstanding
U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and ease some restrictions on travel and
business. The embargo can only be lifted by the U.S. Congress, which is
controlled by Republicans.

Travel to the Caribbean island from the United States has increased,
with the start of direct flights and cruises and roaming agreements
signed, but no manufacturing or significant trade deals have yet been

(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: Cuba's Raul Castro blasts Trump's Mexican wall and trade policy
| Reuters -

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