Interview: Trump gains "antipathy and rejection" in Latin America one year after election: Cuban expert

HAVANA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- One year after his election victory, U.S. President Donald Trump gained "antipathy and rejection" in Latin America due to his military threats as well as anti-immigrant and segregation policies, said a renowned Cuban analyst.

Iroel Sanchez, an academic and former president of the Cuban Book Institute, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the American head of state has reversed his predecessor's policies with several Latin American nations and even confronted Washington's allies in the region.

"Trump is a perfect creator of enemies in Latin America," said the expert.

Sanchez said that even governments that feel a close ideological affinity with the United States, such as Mexico, have had to face Trump's tough immigration enforcement.

In August, Trump said he was mulling a range of scenarios for Venezuela, "including a possible military option if necessary." In response, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered his armed forces to carry out a national exercise.

"The military threat to Venezuela created great tension," said Sanchez, who is also professor at the University of Havana, adding that "even one of their strongest allies, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos distanced himself from that statement and rejected it."

In the case of Cuba, he said, Trump rolled back the historic opening with the island that put an end to political confrontation which lasted over half a century.

"Washington reversed its Cuba policy only to please the most extremist and minority sectors of the Cuban exile community, controlled by politicians who have benefited from the hostility of the White House towards Havana," he added.

Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. former President Barack Obama shook hands at the Summit of the Americas in 2015, the first substantive meeting between a Cuban leader and an American leader since the 1950s, which was interpreted as a signal of hope and anticipation about the thawing of bilateral relations. Next year, Peru will host the eighth Summit.

"It was a hemispheric claim that Cuba should participate in the summit," said the expert, "It remains to be seen if Trump will attend or not, and what the presidents or heads of state will tell him."

"I believe left-wing governments can have a great future in Latin America because it is still the region of the world with the greatest inequality and there are just causes to fight for," Sanchez said.

Regarding Cuba, the academic said the island is currently in a process of general elections that will lead to a generational change of leadership in the country.

"It has been said transparently by President Raul Castro himself that he will not continue to be the country's president. There are representatives of other generations in the National Assembly and the government that will continue and assume leadership in the country," he said.

"Cuba will continue to be a socialist and independent nation. It will continue to do what its people want, not what the United States wishes," said Sanchez. "That is going to be a bit difficult for them to understand."

[ Editor: meng ]


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