June 19, 2017 12:44 pm
Updated: June 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Donald Trump speech on Cuba a ‘grotesque spectacle’, says Cuban foreign minister

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Friday he was "cancelling" the Obama administration's deal with Cuba, restoring trade and travel embargoes on the Communist island nation.


U.S. President Donald Trump‘s speech on Cuba was a “grotesque spectacle,” but the island’s government will continue working towards better relations with the majority of Americans who back detente, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Monday.

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Trump announced a partial rollback of the normalization of relations with Cuba on Friday in Miami, the heartland of Cuban exiles, in a theater named after the leader of the failed U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of the island in 1961.

“It was a grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold War,” Rodriguez said in Vienna, during a tour of European countries, in a news conference broadcast live in Cuba.

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

READ MORE: Donald Trump orders clampdown on travel, trade in revised Cuba policy

The U.S. president stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba, restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostility and leaves many recent agreements between the two countries intact.

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

“It is necessary to wait for the U.S. government to announce regulations that implement these measures before opining on their reach and depth,” Rodriguez said.

WATCH: Trump cancels Obama’s ‘one-sided’ deal with Cuba

He added, however, that they would inevitably hit U.S. companies and citizens by restricting their ability to invest in or travel to Cuba, while also hurting the Cuban people.

“It will wreak economic damage not just on Cuba’s state companies but also on the cooperatives and private sector workers,” he said.

READ MORE: Obama opened the U.S. up to Cuba, and Trump may be about to close it again

The Russian Foreign Ministry has also criticized Trump’s verbal attack on the Caribbean islands.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Trump is “returning us to the forgotten rhetoric of the Cold War.”

The statement says that “It’s clear the anti-Cuba discourse is still widely needed. This can only induce regret.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy in Vienna; writing by Sarah Marsh in Havana; editing by Meredith Mazzilli and W Simon and with files from the Associated Press

© 2017 Reuters

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