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Cuba defies US over severing diplomatic ties

International 18 Dec, 2019 Follow News

Cuba defies US over severing diplomatic ties

Cuba is bracing for the possibility of the United States breaking off diplomatic ties but will seek to maintain them nonetheless, Havana's top diplomat in charge of relations with Washington.

"We must be aware that this can get worse," said the official, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, director general of the US desk at Cuba's foreign ministry summing up months of mounting tension between the two countries.

The reason for the downturn in relations five years after an historic thaw between the Cold War foes is simple, Cossio said. "Those in charge of US policy towards the Western Hemisphere have attitudes and positions that are extremely aggressive towards our country.

"We are seeing that what they want to do is to break all the existing links, to close the embassies. We hope that this won't be the case, but we cannot trust that this will not happen. We are prepared, ready for such an eventuality, but we do not wish it."

The embassies were reopened in 2015, months after US President Barack Obama and Raul Castro agreed to revive diplomatic ties severed since 1961.

The first two years were unremittingly positive; travel and trade restrictions were eased, a direct telephone link was restored, and Obama visited Havana.

But then it all changed with the arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House.

"In the last three years, there has been a gradual erosion (of the relationship) until the current moment when the US government is clearly declaring its aggressive intent towards Cuba."

As long as Washington maintains an economic embargo, which Obama failed to lift during his presidency, "it's very difficult to think seriously about sustainable progress in the bilateral relationship."

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