| 22 June 2021, Tuesday |

Cuba says Biden upholding Trump policy

Cuba is vexed at the United States’ continued hostile approach towards the Latin American country, saying the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration are no different from those of his predecessor Donald Trump, despite earlier pledges of a policy shift.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in a note to Congress once again accused Cuba, along with several other countries, including Venezuela, of “not cooperating fully with United States anti-terrorism efforts.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez dismissed Washington’s latest “slander” and said it was “surprising and irritating as are the application of Trump’s policy and his 243 sanctions.”

The move, he said Tuesday, means Biden continues the policies of Trump against Havana.

On Monday, Deputy Director of Multilateral Affairs of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, Maria del Carmen Herrera, complained that four months after Biden assumed power, there has been no change in the US aggressiveness.

She explained how the US unilateral blockade had impeded Cuba’s economic development, fight against climate change, as well as efforts to curtail the coronavirus pandemic.

During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to reverse some of Trump’s Cuba measures that “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”

US sanctions on Cuba have been in place since 1962. Under Trump, Washington  imposed more than 240 sanctions, of which 55 were applied during the coronavirus pandemic.

The development prompted global charity Oxfam to call for the Biden administration to work towards normalizing ties with Havana and lift the sanctions.

In its Tuesday report, Oxfam recounted how the sanctions imposed by Washington on Cuba nearly six decades ago were a “severe obstacle to development for the Cuban population.”

Oxfam Cuba director Elena Gentili also said that “in the face of the health crisis, Oxfam considers it even more urgent to change this policy.”

Cuba and the US had severed relations in 1961 during the Cold War, two years after the two countries became ideological foes following the Cuban Revolution, which brought the late Fidel Castro to power.