Cuba calls Trump speech on island 'grotesque spectacle'


UPDATE 2-Cuba calls Trump speech on island 'grotesque spectacle'

(Adds quotes, background, paragraphs 10-16)
    By Francois MurphyVIENNA, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's
speech on Cuba was a "grotesque spectacle," but the island's
government will continue working towards better relations with
the majority of Americans who back detente, Cuban Foreign
Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday.
    Trump announced a partial rollback of the normalization of
relations with Cuba on Friday in Miami, the heartland of Cuban
exiles, in a theater named after the leader of the failed
U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of the island in 1961.
     "It was a grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold War,"
Rodriguez said in Vienna, during a tour of European countries,
in a news conference broadcast live in Cuba.
     Trump's speech before an audience that included people Cuba
considers terrorists, included dramatic flourishes like a Cuban-
American exile playing the U.S. national anthem on his violin.
     The U.S. president stopped short of breaking diplomatic
relations with Cuba, restored in 2015 after more than five
decades of hostility and leaves many recent agreements between
the two countries intact.
    However, it will tighten restrictions on Americans traveling
to the Caribbean island, hurting the booming Cuban tourism
industry and clamp down on U.S. business dealings with Cuba's
military. [nL8N1J9644]
    "It is necessary to wait for the U.S. government to announce
regulations that implement these measures before opining on
their reach and depth," Rodriguez said.
    He added, however, that they would inevitably hit U.S.
companies and citizens by restricting their ability to invest in
or travel to Cuba, while also hurting the Cuban people.
    "It will wreak economic damage not just on Cuba's state
companies but also on the cooperatives and private sector
workers," he said.
    Moody's Investor Service released a report on Monday saying
the U.S. revision of its Cuban policy was "credit negative" for
the island, coming at a time when the country was already
suffering liquidity problems due to weakening economic support
from its crisis-wracked ally Venezuela. [nFWN1JG0BR]
    The Cuban foreign minister said Trump's hope of separating
the people from the military, who were simply "the people in
uniform," was "infantile."
    'On the contrary, these measures reinforce our patriotism,
our dignity and our decision to defend national independence by
all means," he said.
    Meanwhile, the partial rollback of the detente would fall
flat with the majority of Americans, who supported the
normalization of relations with Cuba, and with whom the country
would continue working, Rodriguez added.
    In response to Trump's demand to return fugitives sought by
the United States, Rodriguez said Cuba considered them fighters
for civil liberties.
    "These persons will not be returned to the United States,"
he said.

 (Reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna; Writing by Sarah Marsh
in Havana; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and W Simon)
 ((; +53 5217 0928; Reuters


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