Leonhard Foeger | Reuters
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, June 19, 2017.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez slammed President Donald Trump‘s new policy that tightens travel restrictions and prohibits American companies from conducting business with those owned by the Cuban military, NBC News reports.
Rodriguez reportedly told journalists on Monday in Vienna that “there will not be a presidential directive from the U.S. that will alter the direction of Cuba.”
“We have gone through everything, our people have gone through everything,” he said, according to NBC News. “What could they menace us with now that they haven’t before and failed?”
Trump announced the policy changes Friday in Miami, vowing to “expose the crimes of the Castro regime” and support the Cuban people.
“For nearly six decades, the Cuban people have suffered under communist domination,” Trump said in his announcement. “To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere, and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores.”
On Monday, Rodriguez criticized Trump’s pledge, saying the “the massive and systematic harm to human rights comes from the blockade,” and Trump himself has “based all his policies on things that are very distant from human rights,” according to NBC News.
Human Rights Watch, however, told NBC News that the Cuban government has increasingly repressed dissent and criticism. Still, Daniel Wilkinson, managing director for the Americas at the organization, told NBC News in a statement that doesn’t mean Trump should have reversed course on former president Barack Obama‘s policy.
“The fact that Obama’s approach hasn’t led to political reform in Cuba after just a few years isn’t reason to return to a policy that proved a costly failure over many decades,” Wilkinson said.