Following is a statement by the Cuban government on June 5 answering the harsh new measures taken by the Trump administration against both the Cuban people and those in the U.S. wishing to travel to Cuba.
The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba repudiates, in the strongest terms, measures announced by the United States government on June 4, 2019, reinforcing the economic blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years, at a cost to the Cuban economy that in 2018 exceeded $134 billion at current prices, or $933 billion, when considering the depreciation of the dollar as compared to the value of gold on the international market.
As is known, this new escalation, effective June 5, further strengthens the stringent restrictions U.S. citizens face in order to travel to Cuba, and adds full prohibitions on travel by sea from the United States, of all types, and prohibits cruise ship stops in our country immediately.
The objective continues to be pressuring the Cuban nation to make political concessions, by strangling the economy and causing damage at the population’s level. In this particular case, the measures also seek to prevent the people of the United States from learning about Cuba’s reality, and thus undermining the slanderous propaganda campaigns against our country that are fabricated on a daily basis.
These actions are contrary to the majority opinion of U.S. citizens, whose interest in seeing Cuba, and exercising their right to travel, is made clear by the 650,000 who visited us in 2018, along with half a million Cubans resident in the United States.
This past April 17, National Security Adviser John Bolton, on the occasion of an anti-Cuban show that featured the presence of mercenaries defeated at Playa Girón and relatives of the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship’s henchmen, announced that his government would restrict non-family trips to Cuba. It is clear that this individual has managed to take possession of U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, which constitutes the main threat to peace and stability in the entire region.
The United States promotes the Monroe Doctrine without reservation, with which it seeks to deny sovereign equality and the right to self-determination of each and every one of the hemisphere’s nations.
The recent attacks on Cuba are justified with new pretexts. The most notorious among them is the slanderous accusation that Cuba is intervening militarily in Venezuela, a lie that has been publicly and consistently refuted by the Cuban government.
They go to the unscrupulous extreme of proposing that Cuba betray the convictions and principles that guide the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy, in exchange for promises of negotiations or easing of the draconian and criminal measures that make up the blockade.
Cuba’s solidarity with constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, and the civic-military union of its people is not negotiable. The more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators, who in a voluntary and disinterested manner offer their social services in the country, the majority in health care, will continue to do so, as long as the Venezuela people want, cooperating with this sister country.
For Cubans, betrayal is not an option. We are not naive: we have already struggled 150 years for our independence, obliged to confront the hegemonic ambitions of U.S. imperialism since the first day.
Cuba will not be intimidated, nor distracted from the essential, urgent tasks of developing our economy and the construction of socialism. Closely united, we will be able to face the most challenging adversities. They cannot asphyxiate us, nor can they stop us.