Spotlight: Cubans rebuff Trump's conditions for normal ties

by Raimundo Urrechaga

HAVANA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cubans mourning the death of their revolutionary leader Fidel Castro have rejected recent remarks by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who threatened to put thawing ties back on ice unless the Cuban government meets certain demands.

On Monday, in typical Trump fashion, the future White Houseoccupant delivered a blustery ultimatum via Twitter, saying "if Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal."

Trump, who was referring to the U.S.-Cuba agreement to normalize ties, either misread the popular Cuban sentiment or was simply pandering to his Cuban-American constituency in Miami, Florida, and its anti-Castro fervor.

Either way, his words were roundly condemned by Cubans grieving the loss of the man who liberated the impoverished Caribbean country from the clutches of a U.S.-backed dictator more than a half century ago, and instituted universal healthcare and education.

"It is a new aggression against Cuba, this time against the memory of our eternal leader," Marcia Lopez, a retired Cuban who was one of thousands paying tribute to Castro at Havana's Revolution Square, told Xinhua.

"Trump believes Fidel's death means the end of the revolution and he's completely mistaken," Lopez added.

She was also one of the many who signed an oath to continue the ideals of the Cuban Revolution, as expressed by Fidel during a landmark speech delivered on May Day in 2000.

Carlos Martinez, a young middle-class student and Havana resident, said, "Trump will never be able to take away our sovereignty and the independence we have won since Fidel came to power."

Tamara Arias, who works in Cuba's fledgling private sector, criticized what she called Trump's "insolence."

"We have resisted the continuous attacks of the United Statesfor more than 55 years and we are here today stronger than ever," said Arias, adding "Fidel left us a country that many around the world admire."

Ania Morales, a young officer at the island's Interior Ministry, said Castro's leadership, and unswerving commitment to the revolution and the country has instilled in Cubans a sense of dignity and courage.

"We are very aware of what we have to defend. Whoever thinks the revolution is going to end is wrong. There are many Cubans who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the (revolutionary) process," she said.

During his campaign, Trump derided President Barack Obama's new Cuba policy as "weak," and said he would pursue a "better deal" that benefits Washington.

Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic ties and launched a process to normalize the relationship in 2014.

[ Editor: Jiaming ]


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