Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Cuban foreign minister: 'We have the patience' to wait out Trump

Cuban foreign minister: 'We have the patience' to wait out Trump

"I have continued to press both the Obama and Trump Administrations for the return of Joanne Chesimard, and am pleased that the president today made her return - in clear and absolute terms, as I have insisted - contingent upon any further USA engagement in Cuba".

Cuba's foreign minister rejected President Donald Trump's new policy toward the island, saying Monday that "we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat" and refusing to return USA fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

"We have the patience, the resistance" to wait out Trump, said Rodriguez, who delivered the remarks in Vienna, Austria, as part of a European tour.

Trump's speech before an audience that included people Cuba considers terrorists, included dramatic flourishes like a Cuban- American exile playing the USA national anthem on his violin.

Numerous changes that President Barack Obama made to Cuban policy, including restoring diplomatic relations and re-establishing direct flight service, will remain under Trump's Cuba policy, which bars Americans and United States companies from any transactions that benefit the Cuban military.

However, it will tighten restrictions on Americans traveling to the Caribbean island, hurting the booming Cuban tourism industry and clamp down on USA business dealings with Cuba's military.

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Still, Rodriguez said, the Cuban government had no intention of meeting Trump's demands, including extraditing US fugitives from justice, like convicted cop killer Assata Shakur.

The foreign minister made it clear that the USA citizens who committed crimes in Cuba, like hijacking planes, were sentenced by Cuban courts and served lengthy prison sentences.

Moody's Investor Service released a report on Monday saying the USA revision of its Cuban policy was "credit negative" for the island, coming at a time when the country was already suffering liquidity problems due to weakening economic support from its crisis-wracked ally Venezuela. The island nation will never negotiate its independence and sovereignty, the Cuban foreign minister said.

"These persons will not be returned to the United States", he said.

'In tune with the national legislation and worldwide law, and Latin America's tradition, Cuba has granted political asylum or refuge to civil rights fighters from the United States, ' Rodriguez noted at a press conference in this capital today.

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