Raul Castro Warns Trump that His Cuba Strategy Will Fail

July 14, 2017 | Print Print |

General/president Raul Castro addresses the National Assembly. Foto: Irine Perez /cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban President Raul Castro warned his US counterpart Donald Trump that his strategy toward the island will not succeed and reiterated his readiness for dialogue, dpa news reported.

“Any strategy that seeks to destroy the Revolution, through coercion, pressure or subtle methods, will fail,” said Castro during the closing of a session of the National Assembly, transmitted by state television.

In June, Trump announced a policy change to Havana with a tougher line than the one employed by his predecessor Barack Obama, who succeeded in reestablishing diplomatic relations between the two countries after decades of confrontation.

Trump announced restrictions on US companies to do business with Cuban military companies and tightened the partial travel ban on his country’s citizens visiting the island.

However, the US administration announced today that it has suspended for a further six months a part of the embargo on Cuba, in what is interpreted as a further sign that Trump is not completely reversing its predecessor’s policy toward the island.

According to a State Department statement, the provision of the Helms-Burton law on property seized from US citizens in Cuba will be suspended.

That provision, which is title three of the law, allows US citizens to go to the country’s courts to sue non-US companies operating with property confiscated after the Cuban Revolution.

The suspension of the provision, which leaves this right without effect, has been renewed every six months in recent years. According to the State Department statement, the extension of the suspension starts from August 1.

A month after Trump announced his new policy toward Cuba in Miami, today’s announcement is interpreted as a new sign that in practice, the president does not want to end the rapprochement with Cuba, even if he does introduce changes.

Likewise, Raul Castro said today that Trump “resumed a discourse of a confrontational past that had been utterly unsuccessful for 55 years.”

Castro’s words are the first public reaction of the Cuban president to the new policy of the US president.

“Cuba and the United States can cooperate and live together respecting differences and promoting everything that benefits their peoples,” said Raul Castro, who clarified that his country “will not make concessions regarding its sovereignty and independence, nor will it negotiate its principles.”

The Cuban president affirmed that his Government is ready “to continue the dialogue and the cooperation, as well as the negotiation of pending bilateral issues with the United States, on the basis of equality.”

During his parliamentary speech, Castro said that in terms of human rights, Cuba “does not have to receive lessons from the United States, nor from anyone else.”


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    I really don’t like Donald Trump. But, I like Raúl Castro far less.

  • N.J. Marti

    Trump’s policy is 98% the same as Obama, but with a different tone for voters. Very little is about to change.

  • CErmle

    And Raul is absolutely right on this one. Read what he says very carefully.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Being right CErmle and being correct are frequently different. Raul Castro merely reinterated his dogmatic Marxist view.

  • Olgasintamales

    It will fail like almost 60 years of a family in power, blaming everyone else for the inefficiency. Mirror, Mirror. What is a Failure?

  • Terry Downey

    Carlyle, I’m sorry, but you continue to keep thinking of change for Cuba as if it should all be expected to happen overnight. Of course countless others continue to make that same mistake too. Obama understood that nothing can change without respectfully leaving the door open as invitation. Some, including yourself, will continue to argue that Obama received nothing in return for his optimism and openness, but I beg to differ. The biggie that many seem to be stuck on is democracy for Cuba. But that will likely be the very last significant change to affect Cuba within the next few decades… yes, decades! But again, other changes that are necessary as a prerequisite for that will be delayed as long as the US government continues to delay completely leveling the playing field for Cuba. Keep in mind too that there was, and still is, much, much more that needs to change first with US government policy, than has ever needed to change within Cuba to level that playing field. It has never been a tit for tat situation… but some will always keep looking at their score cards with dismay because they simply don’t understand that Cuba owes America nothing. The very notion that Cuba owes the US something in return is paramount to the overall delusion that has always been the American government’s greatest obstetrical to completely normalizing relations with Havana.

    • Nick

      Very well put Terry.
      Changes have happened in Cuba. Slowly. Changes will continue to happen. Probably also slowly. Hopefully the changes will be for the better.
      But as you say, the USA needs to normalise it’s attitude first.
      It is an undemocratic quirk of the US electoral system (designed for the late 18th Century?) that has allowed those folks down in Miami to have been able to exert such influence for so long. In actual fact the influence of these people is probably now finally diminishing.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        My observation has been and continues to be that for the people of Cuba there is no change. Secondly, I do not believe that any change is intended by the Castro regime or the annointed successors.

        • Nick

          Depends what you need by ‘change’.
          If your idea of change is some sudden collapse of Cuba’s system then that has not happened nor is it at all likely.
          In the 20 plus years since I first went to Cuba there have been many changes for Cuba and Cubans. For example I have personal friends who were going nowhere in life but are now running businesses.

          • Terry Downey

            Absolutely, Nick, same with me. And of course the trickle-down affect within their supply chains for other Cubans is also a vast improvement and indication of real change for their population too. Bottom line… it all has to be done THEIR WAY, Carlyle. Continuing to bellyache about the pace of change… your so called, red light… is immaterial, and grossly inaccurate too. Carlyle, instead of spending so much time transparently promoting your book on here, try getting with the program regarding where the blame for the slow pace of change REALLY lies. Think about it… the pace of change for average Cubans has accelerated 10 fold within the last 9 years, and especially since December 17th, 2014. Just think how much quicker the pace of change could come for the Cuban population if ALL US interventionist policies molesting Cuba’s advancement were to be completely repealed. Take a look at the success of Vietnam today… post US embargo. That could be Cuba too one day… if only for small minded people similar to little Marco, Cruz, and Bozo the President. Should we continue to heap you and Moses into that 3 ring circus? Grow up and get with the program.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Having “accelerated 10 fold within the last nine years” the pace of ‘change’ in
            Cuba is still imperceptible Terry. Just think, people are being paid the same wages – averaging just over $20 per month as they were nine years ago. Yes, I agree that the 500.000 who lost so-called ’employment’ and had to enter the ‘private sector’ are no longer costing the state some $120,000,000 per annum.
            You may recall Fidel Castro’s open criticism of Vietnam when it adopted capitalist methods – leading like China to improved economics. Face it Terry, the Castro’s are political dinosaurs and progressive change runs counter to their philosophy.
            It is popular in some circles to imagine that Cuba’s progress is being hindered by US policies. But who is describing how? There appears to be little evidence that the US embargo is having any serious effect – and as you know, I oppose it.
            Cuba’s economic and political malaise comes from within. Apart from the embargo and Helms-Burton, can you describe the other “US interventionist policies” to which you refer?
            Do please let everybody know about “the program” to which you refer!

          • Nick

            Might I venture to say that ‘the program’ is what is actually happening in Cuba.
            ‘The Program’ is no longer Fidel Castro. I would suggest that he will go down in history in various different ways but the fact is that he ceased being Cuba’s President a decade ago and is now dead.
            But you do still seem to have a fixation with him?
            The current reality in Cuba is something pretty much something like that described by Terry Downey or by Bob Michaels.
            Cuba will plod on. Changes are indeed happening but slowly. Some people are getting involved in these changes and others are stuck on state salaries.
            A large amount of people (as you know) are somewhere in between.
            Although you are perhaps yearning to see all your points of view vindicated, there probably will not be any kind of seismic ‘Fall of The Berlin Wall’ type moment in Cuba.
            If such a moment comes to pass, then fine. Crack on!
            But the overwhelming likelihood is that this just ain’t gonna happen.
            Please don’t take this in a bad way as it’s most certainly not meant pejoratively, but sometimes it is as if you are looking around for a Cold War to be involved in……
            But the Cold War that you always seem to refer to actually finished nearly three decades ago.
            Sure, life in Cuba ain’t always a ‘stroll in the park’.
            But Cuba is definitely changing (slowly) and meanwhile, there are a helluva lot of infinitely worse places to live in this crazy world of ours.

          • Terry Downey

            Thanks Nick. Spot on. I just couldn’t find the energy nor the interest to respond to Carlyle, because in my estimation, he’ll always be a glass-half-empty type of person who is stuck in the past chasing the boogie-man and oblivious to the potential for a much brighter future ahead for all Cubans… if only he and others here would get with the program promoting, if not demanding, the full normalization of relations with Cuba. Every day that is lost due to the American government’s continued repression of the Cuban nation and the Cuban people, is just another day that delays the inevitable transformation of Cuba, post embargo. Carlyle, what’s the old expression? If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Everyone needs to get with the program.

    • Kennedy Earle Clarke

      Brother Terry, You deserve myriads of high fives for your commentary. I could not have said it better myself! A change of attitude on the part of the USA will greatly enhance the restoration of relations between the two neighbors; change must be ushered in out of respect! The USA wants the Cuban People to bow to their dictates. Cuba is sovereign!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      I don’t see in any of my contributions to Havana Times any indication of my anticipating any change to occur overnight Terry. I do recall writing that change will not occur under the Castro regime or indeed its annointed successors. However, it is correct that I have drawn attention to the potential for dispute between the Political ‘troika’ of Diaz-Canel. Rodriguez Carrilles and Marino Murillo and direct ,members of Raul Castro’s family.
      I did summarize my views in the closing paragraph of ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’ and see no reason for changing them.

    • Terry I know your casa is in Camaguey, do you mind if I ask where, I’m on Calle San Jose. I am sure we must have met once or twice.

      • Terry Downey

        armstro, my casa is located within the Eden barrio of Cam city… the west end. Very poor area, but rich in personality. Our casa is much better than most others there. At least ours is painted on the outside… and inside, it’s a palace by comparison. You might find us eating and drinking at CubaVa, or La Bigornia and El Patio on Republica occasionally… otherwise we stick pretty close to home with the kids, friends, and family.

  • Francisco Sugar Co.

    Although Trump has indicated he will Sign the waiver provision Title III of the Helms Burton Act
    he has not indicated that he would do so unconditionally … here’s what I’d like to see …
    Unlike his predecessors, President Trump should issue a sharply-worded conditional signing statement in conjunction with a further six-month suspension of Title III.

    The signing statement should create a twelve-month “window of opportunity” within which National Security Council (NSC) staff would engage directly with representatives of the thirty (30) certified claimants with the largest values of assets expropriated without compensation. Potentially, a third-party United States-based negotiator could be retained to represent the interests of the certified claimants to the government of the Republic of Cuba.

    If an agreement with the government of the Republic of Cuba is concluded by the end of the twelve-month period, the Trump Administration would remove remaining financial regulations under the auspice of the OFAC and BIS which impact the government of the Republic of Cuba.
    https://www.justice.gov/fcsc/cuba/documents/1501-3000/2500.pdf

  • Nick

    Mr MacD, the agility with which you move from mixed metaphor to non-mixed metaphor is most impressive.
    Apart from that observation and also agreeing that trump’s forte is indeed grandiose illusion, I must say that Terry Downey is absolutely correct.
    Many observers do not see President Obama’s turning of the page as being ‘for naught’. It was a move towards the normalisation of an abnormal (and 100% failed) policy. It was also an attempt to put a stop to a relatively small clique of (in many cases VERY) right wing individuals in Miami exerting such undue influence over US foreign policy.
    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Cuban system and regardless of the changes which you or I think are needed, Cuba is not beholden to the USA.
    Cuba is a sovereign nation unto itself and owes no favours to it’s big northern neighbour.

    • Kennedy Earle Clarke

      Well said brother NICK! Cuba is a sovereign Nation and must be respected as such! It owes no apology to its Northern Neighbor for the pathway it has chosen! It is not going to bow to the dictates of its Northern Neighbor which is no example to follow!

      • Finally I can agree with you Mr. Clarke, no other country has the right to impose their values on another country. That being said there is only one thing I would like to see in Cuba, an open election. If as you constantly say the Cuban people are happy with their government then the government should win in a landslide. I believe it is up to the people of a nation to decide it’s future. I do hope you agree with that.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Glad you enjoyed those mixed metaphors Nick. Got your attention!

  • curt9954

    It’s obvious that Raul is the adult compared to the childlike Trump. I have much more respect for Raul. Trump has made the U.S the laughingstock of the world. I am very ashamed to be an American right now.

    • Nick

      Interesting comment.
      Raul Castro, for all his lack of charisma and stodginess, does indeed look like the more serious player in comparison to trump.
      But c’mon, trump may be a laughing stock and a pretty isolated individual in global terms……
      But the USA is not a laughing stock as a whole.
      Far from it:
      An example: It is extremely impressive that so many US States, big companies and countless individuals are refusing to comply with trump’s stance toward the Paris Agreement (which is aimed at ensuring a viable future in an environmental sense for generations to come).
      This has nothing to do with Cuba (specifically), but it is very impressive.

  • lpress

    For an outline of President Obama’s strategy and goals, see:
    http://cis471.blogspot.com/2017/05/crooked-media-my-new-favorite-podcast.html

    Also note that, as NJ Marti states, Trump made a misleading political speech, in which he told a right-wing audience that “I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.” That is an extreme overstatement (to put it kindly) — see:
    http://laredcubana.blogspot.com/2017/06/trumps-cuba-policy-and-its-impact-on.html

    He has made some changes, but none affecting the Cuban Internet as far as I can see:
    http://laredcubana.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-does-trumps-cuba-policy-memorandum.html

    • N.J. Marti

      Like a lot of what Trump says, it is for emotional effect versus communication of actual policy but for its direction. What Trump should have said if he was being honest; “Obama was right on Cuba. I am keeping most of his changes. But I intend to make a few changes of my own to restrict personal travel to keep a campaign promise even if it is counter to what I really believe is in the national interest. I am doing this on advise of the Cuban members of the Senate who gave me their votes on healthcare. It is the art of the deal.”

      Raul by now knows what Trump spoke and what he really did are diffirent so he kept the response mild while playing along with Trump for his own ends pretending that the sovereignty of Cuba is at stake.

      Obama changed the deal with Cuba and Trump is going along. More to come at a future date from the President that wants to build a Trump tower in Habana. It will likely have multiple Presidential penthouses.

  • Kennedy Earle Clarke

    The Colour “red!” stands for bravery!” It also stands for working class struggle. It also stands for the shedding of blood! Jesus the Christ shed his blood to redeem the sinful souls of mankind! The Republican Colour is Red, because, at that time, Abraham Lincoln was waging a struggle against the racist South who were against freeing the Black Slaves in the USA. Abe was struggling to correct a racial injustice! Thanks for the set firmly red traffic lights which represent the continuous struggle of working class people like me!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      So if you don’t agree that the political traffic lights are firmly set at red, what colour do you think they area Kennedy Earle Clarke?
      For interest, what is your definition of “working class”?

      • Kennedy Earle Clarke

        Dear Brother Carlyle, I was just trying to educate you as to the importance of the COLOUR RED and what it REALLY stands for. It is the International Colour of the working Class. The International Colour for STRUGGLE! STRUGGLE for BETTER Working Conditions, struggle for HIGHER WAGES. STRUGGLE for HOLIDAY WITH PAY! There is a working class song which is sung at rallies:

        :”The Peoples Flag Is Deepest Red. It Honours all our Martyrred Dead! Then Raise the Standard Scarlet high, Beneath its folds, we live or die.” Working Class, according to the OXFORD DICTIONARY, means,A Group that consists of People who earn little money, often being paid for the hours or the days that they work.

        “My own Definition of Working Class, is that of a person who does not own the means of production but who is employed, be it on an hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis, regardless of how qualified he is, as long as he is working for someone, he is working class!” Some Professionals who work for themselves but who rely on the working class people to support their business ar considered Working Class. As long as you were forced out of the womb of a working class mother, you are working class. All conservative parties represent the rich oligarchs who oppress the working class.

        Socialist Parties work in the interst of the workers in order to better their conditions and fight the oligarchs to treat their workers as the human beings they were created to be by the Master!The oligarchs try to divide the working class by making it appear that those who are qualified are not working class and should side with them the employer, against the other lower paid workers, but, don’t they toil just like the menial worker and don’t they receive a salary for their work?The menial worker can be fired and the qualified worker does get fired! I hope that I have been successful in enlightening the Brother!.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Great theory Kennedy Earle Clarke. So by your definition if I work for Chase Manhattan Bank, am not a shareholder, am paid monthly I am “working class”. I note also that by your definition Vladamir Putin is a conservative. It appears that your definition of “working class” includes 95% of the population of the UK for example, which just re-elected a Conservative majority with over 800,000 more votes than the socialist opposition.
          Rather than enlightening me Kennedy Earle Clarke you have merely added to confusion.
          On traffic lights, red means STOP.
          As for the Oxford Dictionary which you misquote, the actual definition given is:
          “the social group consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work”
          That is somewhat different from your own definition.
          As Andrew Carnegie emerged from the womb of a working class mother, he was according to your view, working class. But Anthony Wedgewood Benn who was the son of a Viscount, but ran for leadership of the British Labour Party and whose son is a current Labour M.P. could never truly claim to represent the working class?

  • Kennedy Earle Clarke

    I just cannot understand why some people believe that the USA has a right to dictate to Cuba what ideology it must follow. The United Nations Charter declares that all Member States are sovereign! It means that Cuba, though not as large as the USA in size, is just as sovereign as the USA and therefore has the right to chart its own preferred course of development! The UN Charter also stipulates that all countries should exist together as friendly neighbors. Does what the USA refer to as democracy, the real democracy? Is this a fair example for the whole world to follow or to copy? The USA Must clean its slate first, before it can attempt to criticize others. It must prove itself a worthy and unblemished example for others to copy!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Tell us Kennedy Earle Clarke, who are the people that “believe that the USA has the right to dictate to Cuba” – can you name them?

  • Ruben Alberto

    In the history of the Cuban sovereignty, and it is first free territory in the America’s. By the history of the Cuban revolution, and the prior government that it had the Cuban have much too much experience in, and will not go through it again. As it’s One Party System, the Communist Party, and the People’s Power, Cuba is self reliant, and the Cuban government knows that it will not get influenced by the United States of America. In which the U.S. of America is a GIANT CORPORATION, Corporate America that does not care, and concede to any government national health care, nor does it care for the PEOPLE. it is based on only Commercial Law, the Uniform Commercial Code, that is COLORABLE LAW, the Color of Law, and everything has to do with only business. There is no more Common Law in the U.S. of America, so the people do not have rights, they have only privileges. All people are incorporated by their State by State Birth Certificates, in which are Titles of ownership by government, and Social Security Number in which the U.S. Government uses to do FRN’S transactions of money.
    Countries with all CAPITALISM’S DO NOT WORK, all countries need a Social Democracy. They need rules, and regulations, and to assist the poor and disadvantaged people, and their health, education…

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      So do tell everybody Ruben Alberto how it is that Canada has free medical services, free education and yet has never had a socialist government? How do you rate Canada against Cuba or any South American socialist country?

      • Ruben Alberto

        I rate Canada as a GOOD country, and not a corrupted country, and it has the best health care in this hemisphere for all people. Canada is a friend of Cuba, and I know Canada because I have my cousin Evita that has lived there since 1979, she is a X-Ray tech…

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          All of that Ruben has been achieved in Canada by avoiding falling into the trap of socialism.
          No administration is perfect and even Canada has had it’s bad moments – although as you say, it is not a corrupted country, there have been those like a prominent Liberal politician, who when in Court, protested that:
          “I am entitled to my entitlements.”

  • Terry Downey

    Conner G. sums up the Cuban perspective here perfectly and more candidly.

    https://hereishavana.com/2017/07/18/trump-the-laughingstock-of-cuba/