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‘Mercenaries,’ ‘Right-Wing Terrorists’: Cuba Lashes Out at Trump’s Human Rights First Policy

The Cuban propaganda newspaper Granma – the official state newspaper – has published a scathing condemnation of President Trump’s upcoming announcement of a new, pro-human rights policy towards the island’s communist dictatorship.

The column accuses Cuban-American politicians like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) of “blackmailing” Trump into undoing the Obama-era “normalization” reforms that have profited Havana’s regime, claiming Trump fears Rubio investigate the Trump presidential campaign in revenge if Trump failed to keep his campaign promise to hold the Castro dynasty accountable for its violations of international human rights norms.

“The turning of the steering wheel comes from the influence of a small group of legislators of Cuban original who have used political tricks and blackmail to hijack Cuba policy,” Granma claims. Rubio, it continues, “uses a seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the actions of the Republican campaign, to curry favor with Trump.”

Granma, named after a yacht the Castro brothers and henchman Ernesto “Che” Guevara used to flee the island during the height of the struggle against President Fulgencio Batista, also claims the theater Trump has chosen to deliver his address is a symbol of “right-wing terrorists” and claimed an “untold avalanche” of opposition to Trump’s policies has surfaced. The avalanche appears to consist of two random Americans, one anonymous, who told Granma they liked being present in Cuba, and a coalition of corporate business interests that directly benefit from the freedom to work with the Castro regime.

On the other side of the debate, Trump appears to have the backing of both Congressional experts on Cuba policy and the island’s beleaguered anti-communist dissident community, who have praised the move as a “positive step” for democratic movements in Cuba.

Granma goes on to accuse Trump of reactionary policies for choosing the Manuel Artime theater in Miami, named after a Bay of Pigs veteran, as the site of this announcement, calling the venue “a symbolic location for the terrorist far-right of Miami.”

 

Artime, the article claims, was a “traitor” for fighting against the Castro regime and a “mercenary” of the exile community.

Granma concludes that Trump, in challenging the Castro regime, “is seeking a return to the Cold War.”

The Cuban regime has much to lose from President Trump’s readjustment of Obama-era policies that have greatly enriched the Castro dynasty. The Cuban military owns a series of corporations that control tourist enterprises on the island and have the most to gain from an influx of American tourists. The Trump administration made clear that they explicitly seek to limit the profits of the Cuban military.

“The President vowed to reverse the Obama Administration policies toward Cuba that have enriched the Cuban military regime and increased the repression on the island,” a senior administration official said Thursday. In particular, new regulations would “prohibit direct financial transactions with the military, intelligence and security services” with several exceptions.”

The administration has also ended “individual people-to-people exchanges,” which some Americans had abused as a means to conduct illegal tourism activities on the island.

While Granma has clear reason to protest Trump’s attempts to weaken the regime the publishes it, Cuban media has long been anti-American no matter what Washington’s policy towards Havana has been, and has gone out of its way to remind American leaders that no concession to the Castro regime will ever be enough. Following President Obama’s visit to Cuba in March 2016, which resulted in nearly 500 violent political arrests, the Havana Tribune published a scathing, racist opinion column calling Obama a “negro” who had come to Cuba to “incite rebellion and disorder.” Meanwhile, a column appeared in Granma allegedly penned by Fidel Castro, who accused Obama of racism towards Native Americans and warned him not to expect any improvement in bilateral relations.

President Trump confirmed the reversal of Obama-era Cuba policies in a speech in Miami Friday, in which he applauded Cuban dissidents abused by the regime and vowed not to negotiate with the Castro regime until it meets international human rights norms.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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