Castro Calls Trump’s Message to Cuba “Ridiculous”

Raul Castro. File photo: radioreloj.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Raul Castro’s government called the message uttered on Saturday by US President Donald Trump calling for political and economic freedoms on the island “ridiculous,” reported dpa news.

“Unjust persecutions cannot alter Cubans’ longing to see their children free from oppression,” Donald Trump wrote in a statement.

“The Cuban people deserve a government that respects democratic values, economic, religious and human rights, and my government is determined to shape that vision,” he added.

Trump, currently on a tour of the Middle East, sent the message to the people of Cuba on the occasion of the anniversary of May 20th, commemorating the inauguration of the first Republican government on the island back in 1902.

Cuban authorities consider this date as the beginning of the “neocolonial period”, because the United States was given the right to intervene in Cuban political life as a condition for independence through the “Platt Amendment” in the island’s Constitution.

“Even the US government itself is aware of the contradictory and clumsy pronouncements of the millionaire tycoon turned president, on issues of both foreign and domestic politics,” said the note read by state television.

The government’s statement described Trump as “the ill-advised US president” and called the message “controversial and ridiculous.”

Since the arrival of Trump to the White House, Havana has maintained a diplomatic silence on his actions in office and his earlier campaign threats to reverse the policy of rapprochement promoted by Barack Obama.

The criticism of Trump’s message is the first direct disagreement shown by the Cuban government under the Republican Party presidency.

Last February, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Washington is conducting a comprehensive review of US policy toward Cuba with an eye towards prioritizing human rights in their bilateral relationship.
Despite threats from the Trump Administration to reverse Cuba policy, no concrete action has so far been taken. However, Senator Marco Rubio has repeatedly assured that the policy changes are forthcoming.

Meanwhile, Cuban President Raul Castro has reiterated his government’s willingness to enter into dialogue with the United States but without accepting interference in its internal affairs.



33 thoughts on “Castro Calls Trump’s Message to Cuba “Ridiculous”

  • I was hoping that Trump would not interfere with the progress that has been made under President Obama. Those of us who are friends of Cuba are fairly confident that Trump will not reside in the White House much longer. We will continue working for an end to the Embargo and the return of Guantanamo to Cuba.

    Reply
    • I would agree with you Edward Kale if you had spoken of President Obama’s endeavors to make “progress” in Cuba. He did try very hard but apart from the restoration of diplomatic relationships, failed. The diplomatic relationship and his visit to Cuba were a consequence of the prolonged negotiations held in Canada under the hospitality of the then Conservative Harper Government and raised hopes.
      Subsequently Mr. Obama made his historic visit to Cuba and obviously did so with a pre-agreement that there would be an open press conference and an opportunity for him to make a televised public speech.
      In the event, he did both. The press conference was significant in that it lasted some forty minutes during which President Raul Castro Ruz said he would answer one question but did so by posing a question in response, for when asked about political prisoners he denied there were any and asked the questioner to supply a list on the spot.
      Both in the press conference and in his televised speech the following day at the Alicia Alonso Theatre, Obama clarified that whereas he thought the time had come to discuss the lifting of the embargo, there would have to be some reciprocation. By so doing he opened the door.
      However the door was slammed shut only seven days later when at 7.00 p.m. on Cuban TV, Mesa Redondo commenced with reading a letter purportedly from Fidel Castro (probably the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba) entitled:”The Man Obama” which was vitriolic in its criticisms. The very next day (29th March) bruno Rodriguez the Foreign Minister gave a speech in which he stated clearly that there would be no reciprocation. To anyone who knows how the Castro regime operates, it was obvious that both the ‘Fidel’ letter and the Rodriguez speech could only be made with the approval and probably at the instigation of Raul Castro.
      You end with a double entendre by saying: “Those of us who are friends of Cuba…”
      Many of us who are friends of Cuba have an intense dislike of communism and dictatorship as practiced by the Castro family regime. I openly admit to being one of them and as I am married to a Cuban with our home in Cuba where I have a typical Cuban extended family, many friends and where I daily walk the streets and converse with others, i can say with confidence that being a friend of Cuba and being a friend of the Castro communist dictatorship are certainly not synonymous but in conflict.
      Your believe in freedom of the press is in conflict with the beliefs and practices of the Castro regime.
      The obnoxious Platt Amendment ended in 1935.
      With regard to President Donald J. Trump(f), one can only observe that some sixty million of your countrymen voted for him. I am in consequence confused when you claim to: “clearly represent the opinion of the vast majority of Americans”.But I do agree that in general Americans being a democratic people favour freedom of the press!
      To close, it is not Donald Trump that has brought discussion of the embargo and Guantanamo to a close. That was decided by Raul Castro Ruz.
      Leopards do not change their spots and communists remain determined to eliminate the private ownership of the means of production – the raison d’etre of their party. They seek to create a mass of the proletariat which complies with their dictate.

      Reply
      • I believe that Fidel criticized the actions of President Obama as a change of tactics but still focused on the same desired result, the change of the Cuban socialist political system into one like the capitalist US system, one easier to be manipulated by corporate excesses- to the detriment of the Cuban people. Cuba could just as easily criticize the US system that boasts the highest numbers of imprisoned, human rights abuses perpetrated by the police, especially towards minorities, tremendous wealth inequality, etc. I support the openings President Obama created, but the Cuban people must be allowed, FINALLY, to decide their system of governance for themselves.

        Reply
        • I agree with the last sentence in your comment. Can we agree that Castro should immediately set a date for open an independent election in Cuba? One that allows more than one political party and the freedom for candidates to speak freely in public. Would you support these basic democratic principles to assure that the Cuban people, and NOT the Castro oligarchy, to decide the future for the Cuban people?

          Reply
        • Ryan I am confused by your response. Are you actually suggesting that firstly it was Fidel Castro who wrote the letter “The Man Obama” and that the Castro regime is “still focused on the same desired result, the change of the Cuban socialist political system into one like the capitalist US system” – a view I would instantly dismiss? Raul Castro like his BIG BROTHER has the retention of power and control as his prime objective.
          As long as the Cuban people are subjected to communism, they will not be permitted to “decide their system of governance for themselves”. I agree that that would be the correct process, but liberty to do so cannot occur under the much vaunted “Socialismo” which has denied freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of choice since its inception following the revolution.
          it is worthwhile reading the US Cuban Democracy Act under which the embargo was imposed. If you do so, please relate which objectives you disagree with?.
          There is a prevalent view held by Americans that the only alternative to the current dictatorship in Cuba, is to copy the US system. That is certainly not what I would recommend. There are other systems practiced in other capitalist countries which are preferable and which could act as a model for Cuba in the future. The US model is not an enviable one.
          As I wrote in my book: “US policies towards the Latin American countries have been succession of political blunders of magnitude since the adoption of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823”.The attitude of the US towards its neighbours in the Americas (including Canada) was illustrated by the US Secretary of State when he wrote to Britain’s Foreign Secretary that:
          “The United States is practically sovereign on the continent and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition.”
          That was in 1895 at which time Cubans were fighting for their freedom from colonial Spain – with the US joining in three years later following the mysterious explosion on te USS Maine. Subsequently Cuba was excluded from the negotiations between Spain and the US which then wrote and imposed the 1902 Constitution (in English).
          Yes, it is correct that the US leads the world in incarceration of its citizens, but Cuba isn’t far behind, lying in fourth place. Excesses in the US do not excuse those practiced in Cuba – do they?

          Reply
          • Cuba has better health care indicators, lower murder rates etc than US Change would be faster without embargo…but with autocrat Trump doubt that will be eliminated

          • Check your facts. Cuba’s “health care indicators” are self-reported and should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, these self-reported results do not exceed US measures. According to the World Health Organization, the US ranks 37th and Cuba 39th. http://thepatientfactor.com/canadian-health-care-information/world-health-organizations-ranking-of-the-worlds-health-systems/
            Clearly, for a third world country riddled with government mismanagement and corruption, Cuba has achieved notable gains in healthcare.

          • You always use the wrong data, a poor country without being able to buy MRI x rays etc because of embargo has better indicators in most areas ncluding the important inafant mortality. And if you look at how USA treat minoritiesUS rates are appealing. Cuba does not have a drug problem like US or a AIDS problem like US. Cuba spends less money and gets more because it emphasizes o. prevention! You should visit and stop writing li s….

          • You are incorrect rodrigvm, I had an Xray in Cuba only two months ago. I had an ultra-sound only six weeks ago. So the embargo has not affected either!

            The international drug trade depends upon people having money to purchase their dreadful products. Cubans simply don’t have the money!

          • I spent a month from December to January and visited a few hospital with my Cuban friends, equipment was old X ray was old, MRI was not functioning. If you go to the hospital that serves foreigners of course they will have better equipment. But go to Cerro or even the hospital in Vedado and you will see the needs. It’s prevention that makes the health care system effective. It’s research that has led to eliminating the need at times for amputations for diabetes. As to drugs, strong cultural rejection to use of drugs unless they are locally produced….you don’t need much money to plant weed…

          • I am the first to agree with you rodrigvm that the conditions in most Cuban hospitals require much improvement. As I have written here, broken windows, missing door handles, bacteria hiding cracks are much in evidence.
            The provision of medical services and care under such conditions only serves to increase ones respect for the doctors and nurses who provide their services.
            However, those conditions are a direct consequence of decisions taken by the Castro regime. Like all governments they have to determine priorities and make choices. As I write, I have in my mind the hospital in our community in Cuba and the hardworking staff doing their best in such difficult conditions.. I am also thinking about the massive political hoardings praising ‘Socialismo’ and bearing portraits of Fidel And Raul Castro Ruz, which are regularly updated and others bearing inane quotations of the Castro’s, and the long deceased Guevara (he’s been dead for over fifty years). I have in mind the numerous new houses built to aaccommodate the expanding number of MININT employees. Those reflect the financial priorities of communist repression and indoctrination.
            It is the Castro regime which chooses not to renew the X-ray and MRI equipment to which you refer. But they do have money to liberally fund the activities of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba.
            They do have money to fund the re-construction of the Gran Hotel in Havana for those wealthy enough to pay $440 per night and they do have money to maintain the Clinica Ciro Garcia in Havana for international visitors like Kennedy Earle Clarke – but which is for foreigners only, not for Cubans.

          • The WHO is a credible source. If you disagree with this data, please provide a link to your preferred source. I have lived in Cuba, I am married to a Cuban and I visit frequently.

          • I guess the US system if you have money is great but most people of less means still face bankruptcy and with the changes the current president is planning I am sure US will drop a few notches….by the way all countries self report…..

          • Whatever: The 11,000 Cuban physicians who under the auspices of the Pan-American Health system are contracted to provide medical service in Brazil, have been a highly effective and provide physician’s care in remote locations, inclusive indigenous settlements, that otherwise would remain without physicians’ care.

          • Agreed. Your point?

          • Just think of the revenue that the Castro regime has gained from providing those medical services in Brazil. not much wonder that Raul is cautious in his comments about Temer.

          • Whatever the history of Cuba since 1959: Cuba, as Latin American and Caribbean country, developed a system of training ample numbers of physicians, not only for its domestic needs, but for worldwide deployment both as a form of intellectual service “export” or as a humanitarian service. The United States would be desperately in need of physicians if it relied on its medical schools: The United States attracts (and takes away) the physicians from many third world and developing nations in order to provide a developed-nation ratio of physicians for the American public. Of the 50,000 Physicians contracted from Cuba by the medical services of other nations, are nations whose governments that do not share the ideology practiced in Cuba.

          • Here we go again, just because the US has its own problems, they must necessarily be compared with the even greater problems of Cuba. Do try to see Cuba through Cuban eyes, not those of a disenchanted American. Most of the outside world has lower murder rates than the US. Most of the world thinks that the US has a peculiar electoral system. The US can proudly claim to have the highest level of incarceration in the world. The US permits the slaughter on its streets, in its schools and in its places of worship of over 12,000 of its citizens per year by gunfire!
            Try comparing Cuba’s health care indicators with those of the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand et al. Rid yourself of myopia and look at the wider world.

      • And to add that this was my experience of a visit to Cuba; a nation proud of its achievements and now needing to move on to the next stage of its development – which IS hampered by not being able to trade with its nearest neighbour.
        Cubans must not judge the USA by the experience of American Cubans – theirs is a charmed existence, as they get $680 million in direct aid from the US Government. Elsewhere, homeless Americans live in tents on the streets; poverty is grinding, and evident everywhere.
        Castro and his henchmen are still a very long way from making the concessions Cubans deserve, especially in terms of democracy. But be careful what you wish for; the kind of obscene inequality we see in the USA and elsewhere is not a great alternative.
        Be patient. Burmese people peacefully protested for 50 years to get their democracy. Cubans must do the same. Cuba has many millions of friends, who want to see the country emerge with its dignity as a modern, socialist democracy. Trump and the Republicans will not offer this to you; Cubans have to get it for themselves.

        Reply
        • $680 million in direct aid? Over what time period? Please provide your source please. Sounds ridiculously high.

          Reply
        • There are no doubt many millions of friends of Cuba who wish to see an end of the fifty eight years of socialism. But much more importantly, Cubans seek the opportunity to determine their own future, to have open free multi-party elections, to see an end of repression and the power and control exerted over them by ‘socialismo’.
          Castro, his heirs and successors will not make any concessions. They will not willingly release their iron grip on power and control.
          As is customary with most Americans, the comparisons are always a means of criticizing their own government. The rest of us get weary of it.

          Reply
  • Whatever you decide to do about your “approval,” I am posting this on Facebook and Twitter. I clearly represent the opinion of the vast majority of Americans. We believe in freedom of the press. Do you?

    Reply
    • Dear Edward, we have to moderate the comments because some people are very disrespectful of others. On Sundays I am on the computer less so it can take more time.

      Reply
      • Circles,
        you are doing just fine. It’s not gonna kill us to wait a little to see our posts. AND at least this platform doesn’t “edit” our comments to the point where the message is reversed like the fake news B.S. we have to put up with here at home. Thank you.

        Reply
    • Shame that the US govt doesn’t seem to care much for the freedom of the press then. Their ideal would be to rid themselves of any critical voice (aka fake news). They must be secretly envious of the Castro regime’s media control…

      Reply
      • “fake news” isn’t about opposing a critical voice, it’s about the B.S. twists and half truths they broadcast. I have seen it first hand, when a reporter interviewed me in regard to an event and when they broadcast that evening, it was nothing close to what I had stated. They just edited the interviews and broadcast the portions that they wanted to portray.

        The so called “Free Press” is a contradiction in terms. Don’t forget who owns these news agencies, they are the filthy rich upper echelon of society who try to “manipulate” and control public opinion.

        One would have to read or watch a TON of different news outlets to get a clue as to what is really going & even then, its still very convoluted . Everything in the news is twisted. And they hide under the umbrella of the 1st Amendment, and the freedom of the press with absolutely no repercussions for distributing misinformation.

        Reply
  • There is an automatic assumption by many American contributors to these pages, that the only alternative for Cubans if they were able to remove the yoke of Communism from their necks that their country would become a satellite of the US.
    That view in addition to its evident myopia, is erroneous.
    It is also not reflective of Cubans wishes to say that: ” Cuba needs to be allowed to develop their democratic form of govt (sic) under a socialist model”.
    Cubans have suffered fifty eight long weary years of the socialist model. That suffices! They now seek freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of the media and opportunity to use their talents and abilities for the benefit of their families and community all of which is contrary to ‘socialismo’.
    It is Raul Castro Ruz who seeks capitalist investment to prop up his regime and enable his dictatorship and that of his appointed (annointed) successor to continue their repression, denial of human rights and denial of information to Cubans.
    But I agree that Cubans should be enabled to have open free elections and determine their and their country’s future. That is not denied by the US, but by the Communist Castro regime.

    Reply
  • What President Trump’s long anti-Cuban letter-message to Cubans actually means is that Trump didn’t write it; he has far too many other higher priorities than Cuba to have sat down and composed or dictated such a letter regarding Cuba, especially on the eve of his first major foreign trip. So, this letter that angered the Cuban government was obviously penned by anti-Cuban Republican zealots such as Rubio/Ros-Lehtinen/Cruz and the Diaz-Balart brothers or career counter-revolutionary Mauricio Claver-Carone. But more specifically, it was surely the work of Francisco Palmieri, the figure in the Trump administration that the Cuban-American counter-revolutionaries are depending on to shortly announce that Trump, upon his return to Washington, will briskly assail Cuba. Anticipating Palmieri lowering-the-boom on Cuba, note the extreme vitriol against Cuba in the last couple of days from high-profile anti-Cuban journalists — especially Nora Gamez Torres and Mimi Whitehead of the Miami Herald as well as Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal. It IS NOT just a coincidence that such extreme anti-Cuban articles suddenly flood the print media at the same time. People like that, and like Senator Rubio, are far more concerned about a regime change in Cuba than they are about far more decent and far more important issues that concern the United States.

    Reply
    • Also, Trump mentioned Jose Marti in his statement to the Cuban people. Trump probably never even heard of Jose Marti until he read the statement, which was definitely written by someone else, probably by Little Marco or Ileana Ros Lethinan

      Reply
      • I agree with you curt9954 that it is highly probable that President Trump(f) had never heard of Jose Marti. But even Donald J. Trump(f) would like the following quote of Marti:
        “profound admirationfor those many basic liberties and opportunities open to the vast majority of American citizens.”
        However, President Trump(f) scarcely qualifies for Marti’s description of freedom;

        “Being good is the only way to be free. Being cultured is the only way to be free.”

        However in Trump(f)’s defence he possibly does qualify for Marti’s further comment:

        “With human nature in general however, to be good one has to be prosperous.”

        Maybe those hidden tax returns demonstrate prosperity?

        Reply
  • What every “independent” nation has to realize: Not the American people, but the ruling and dominating circles, will never abstain from “total full spectrum global control’.

    Reply
  • Obama made no progress. He actually cow-towed to Raul in not allowing refugees to make it to landfall and claim freedom. Why didn’t Obama call for reforms in Cuba to help the people? He did nothing, as he too is a Communist.

    Reply
    • One of the problems Dan Makgow Smith of using the word “progress” is that the interpretation varies according to political beliefs. If one regards “progress” as the restoration of diplomatic ties then thanks to the negotiations which secretly took place in Canada between the US and Cuba that was achieved. To his credit, Barack Obama did call for reforms in Cuba both at the press conference and in his speech at the Alicia Alonso Theatre.
      Methinks that you must be of the Trump(f) persuasion and confused between Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama when you call the latter a communist.
      I am usually criticized in these pages for being too right wing in my views, but in reality I try to record fact rather than allowing imagination to run riot – which is noticeable in the writings of many of those who whilst sitting in the comfort of the capitalist world, support the oppression of the Cuban people by a communist dictatorship. Although being non-religious, there is some wisdom in the expression: “do unto others ……….”
      In my lifetime I have been much exposed to observing communism and I can assure you that Barack Obama is not communist. Let me just give you a few quotes of him:

      “We believe in the rights of citizens not just the rights of nations.”
      “We stand on the side of those who want to be free.”
      “The future of our children and grandchildren will be greater if others children have prosperity.”
      “Believing in a certain set of ideals, liberty and the rule of law.”
      “The wealth of a nation comes not from what it consumes, but from what it produces.”
      and:
      A shared belief in the future of human freedom and human dignity.”

      Those views Dan are all in direct contradiction to communism. They contradict that which has been imposed on the people of Cuba by the Castro Communist dictatorship.

      I did not take the quotes I gave from a book or refer to the Cuban press conference and the Alicia Alonso Theatre speech from reports. In each case I saw and heard them delivered.

      Although as an author I have been highly critical of US history in Cuba and although I am not “of the left”, I think that Obama deserves some defence against your accusation.

      Reply

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