Cuban ambassador: Destroying revolution still U.S. goal
On anniversary of Cuban embassy reopening in Washington, Cuban diplomat
blasts Obama administration
Emilio Lozada, island's ambassador in Russia, said U.S. methods have
changed, but not objective
U.S. remains convinced that policy of engagement better than one of
BY FRANCO ORDOÑEZ
A top Cuban diplomat accused the Obama administration of not doing
enough to dismantle the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and said the
United States wants to turn Cuba into an "appendage" of the United States.
In a half-hour interview held in conjunction with the anniversary
Wednesday of the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, Emilio
Lozada, the Cuban ambassador to Russia, told Russian television that
dialogue between U.S. and Cuban leaders may have been restored, but that
the "major obstacles" behind two generations of hostility remain the same.
"The United States has changed its methods, but its objectives remain
the same," Lozada told Russian television station RT. "Destroy the Cuban
revolution and convert Cuba into an appendage of the United States."
The strong language reflects the lingering tensions between the two
nations. Both Lozada and U.S. leaders said they always knew
rapprochement would be long and difficult, but Lozada's strong language
– particularly on such a momentous occasion as the anniversary –
reflects just how tough and unpredictable the road ahead is for the two
In addition to the U.S. embargo, or blockade, as Cubans refer to it,
Lozada cited the Guantanamo Bay naval base, which he described as
"illegally occupied territory," and the U.S. financing of opposition
forces inside Cuba.
The U.S. State Department didn't immediately respond to questions about
Lozada's comments, but a senior State Department official said on a call
to commemorate the anniversary that the administration remains convinced
that a shift from a policy of isolation to engagement is "the best
course for supporting the aspirations of the Cuban people."
Since the two countries reopened embassies last summer – Cuba in
Washington on July 20, 2015, and the U.S. in Havana on Aug. 14, the
United States has taken several steps to break down trade barriers with
Cuba. This summer, the United States announced the addition of
commercial flights to Cuba. The administration also has eliminated
limits on remittances, restored direct mail and allowed American
companies to sell to Cuba on credit.
U.S. diplomats are meeting in Havana to sign another agreement that will
enable the two governments to share information on illicit drug trafficking.
The administration has acknowledged that Congress is unlikely to drop
the U.S. embargo in Cuba by the end of Obama's term, but said
administration officials hope to make enough changes that the opening
can't be reversed by the next president.
"The embargo remains in place, and Congress must act in order to end
it," said the official. "However, the administration has taken a number
of steps with an executive authority to ease certain travel, commercial
and financial transaction restrictions applicable to Cuba."
But it's clear that the Cuban government seeks more. Lozada accused
Obama of not taking steps at his disposal to break down more political
barriers for propping up the embargo. He did not explain what those
steps might be.
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @francoordonez.
Source: Cuban ambassador: Destroying revolution still U.S. goal | Miami