Have you noticed that if your country has oil and attempts to have a real democracy the USA will sabotage and interfere until your country is on its knees? That’s American democracy for you. In that line of thinking, Iran should have the right to openly promote an Islamic Jihad in the USA, no?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a revision of diplomatic relations with the US after the White House has openly urged the opposition to unite and overthrow the “dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a revision of diplomatic relations with the US after the White House has openly urged the opposition to unite and overthrow the “dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”
Ahead of the mass street protests against Maduro on Wednesday, called by the opposition-led National Assembly, US Vice President Mike Pence released a video message reaffirming unwavering support for a regime change in Venezuela. Denouncing Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power” who has “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” Pence declared that time has come for the Venezuelan people to take the matters into their own hands, in a speech peppered with Spanish phrases.
“The United States supports the courageous decision by Juan Guaidó, the president of National Assembly, to assert that body’s constitutional powers, declare Maduro a usurper and call for the establishment of a transitional government,” Pence said.
Slamming the speech as shameless US meddling in his country’s internal affairs, Maduro in response promised his supporters to announce specific measures against Washington in the coming hours.
“Enough of aggressions and conspiracies, enough is enough!” said Maduro, rejecting the “imperialist interventionism” and open calls for coup d’état that he called unprecedented in the 200-year history of US-Venezuela relations.
The war of words over American trade tariffs on Chinese exports and the expulsion of Russian diplomats may seem unrelated issues. But there is a connecting theme: the staggering US hypocrisy over its own aggressive behaviour.
This blatant American hypocrisy – beyond reason and respect for international law – marks a fatal descent into barbarism towards foreign relations. Dialogue and diplomacy are repudiated with a “might is right” attitude.
Washington took the initiative to propose slapping China’s economy with nearly $50 billion in levies on certain exports – claiming unfair trading practices conducted by Beijing. Then when China responded this week by announcing it would be reciprocating by imposing equivalent tariffs on American exports, the Trump White House threw up its arms in annoyance, saying that the Chinese decision was “not fair”.
Similarly, last week Washington took the decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats in support of tenuous Britain’s allegations that the Russian state had some involvement in the apparent poisoning of an exiled spy and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury on March 4. This week Moscow reciprocated by expelling 60 American diplomats from Russia.
As with China’s symmetrical response to US trade tariffs, Washington then declared that Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats was “not fair”. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert made the haughty comment that “Russia should not be acting like the victim here”.
So, let’s get this straight. Washington arrogates the right to take aggressive actions against foreign states, damaging the national interests of those states. But when the other side takes a reciprocal measure, the Americans complain that the measures are unacceptable and an affront.
Such an attitude in Washington is impossibly hypocritical, arrogant and intolerable. It certainly gives new meaning to American claims of being an “exceptional nation” – exceptionally hubristic.
Fears of a full-on global trade war with China have receded somewhat this week because the Trump administration sought to walk back from the proposed tariffs on Chinese exports. Earlier President Trump was bragging that he would easily win a trade war with China. But following Beijing’s announcement of penalties on American agricultural exports, aviation and cars, the White House is toning down the bellicose rhetoric – albeit still griping about China’s moves as “not being fair”.
On the expulsion of Russian diplomats, it should be recalled that there have been several rounds of such American sanctions, going back to December 2016 when the Obama administration expelled some 30 Russian envoys and their families over allegations of Moscow “interfering in US elections”. During the Trump administration, Russia’s diplomatic properties have also been shuttered and raided by US law enforcement officers.
All these American diplomatic censures have been launched on the back of unproven allegations of Russian interference in US democracy. The irony is that these claims have been made by Trump’s political enemies as a way to smear his presidency as somehow being a beneficiary of Kremlin subversion, yet his administration has ratcheted up the diplomatic tensions with Russia by expelling its diplomats over unfounded claims.
The American claims of Russian “cyberattacks” are of a piece with the recent British claims about Kremlin agents allegedly carrying out an assassination plot on its territory. The claims are always in the realm of assertion, with no verifiable evidence to support. Indeed, it looks as if both narratives on either side of the Atlantic are unravelling from the lack of credibility. US special investigator Robert Mueller can’t find any evidence of Russian collusion with Trump – after a year of probing and congressional hearings. Meanwhile, British government scientists are now saying they actually have no evidence that an alleged nerve poison apparently used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was originated in Russia – flatly contradicting the high-flown assertions made last month by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her bumptious Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.
The point is that disputes between states must be resolved by dialogue and a basic mutual respect. Whether it is disputes over trade matters or politics. All the more so whenever alleged grievances are being levelled recklessly without any supporting proof or adherence to due legal process.
But the conflictual problem seems to stem from an ulterior agenda. American perceived grievances against China and Russia seem more about finding pretexts to pursue aggressive policy at all costs. Several foreign policy and military documents out of Washington have openly declared Beijing and Moscow as “rival powers”. This gets back to the issue of American global power relying on a unipolar hegemonic ambition, unable and unwilling to engage with China or Russia as mutual powers. Or anyone else for that matter in a multipolar world.
In order to pursue this dangerous ambition, Washington must – out of warped necessity – erode and cut off diplomatic engagement with China and Russia. That explains why Washington has initiated such aggressive moves over trade and expulsion of envoys. Ominously, it harks to the maxim of “war as a continuation of politics by other means” formulated by the Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831).
What we are witnessing is a hollowing out of US diplomacy and its replacement with a policy of bellicosity. The Trump administration has gutted the State Department and its diplomatic corps.
This is inevitably a reprehensible decent into barbarism by Washington where international law and norms of dialogue are being repudiated out of hand. Why, for example, does Washington not take its alleged trade grievances with China to the World Trade Organization and resolve them in a civilized forum?
The degeneration of American diplomacy is perhaps most glaringly apparent when it hypocritically protests about “unfair” practices by China and Russia that merely reciprocate its own offensive behaviour.
When such arrogant delusion has taken hold, it does not bode well for civilized resolution and a peaceful international order. Because such an attitude violates the foundations of civilized multilateralism upon which international peace depends.
The arrogance of American unilateralism over trade bullying with China and the senseless diplomatic row with Russia is a disastrous resort to “might is right”.
American hypocrisy is a symptom of its degenerate diplomacy and contempt for international law. That in turn is a symptom of American democracy degenerating into a moribund morass. Blaming China and Russia is a desperate attempt to cover-up the inherent existential problems of American capitalism.
In preparation for Hurricane Irma, residents have been instructed to make the necessary arrangements to ensure their safety and the the safety of their loved ones. But in Polk County, if you’re a fugitive of the law, the directive is to turn yourself into the police instead of ensuring your safety. Should those with outstanding warrants no matter the reason, turn up at a shelter, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is threatening arrest and a transfer to the county jail.
The sheriff, who is known for his outspoken comments, made the threat in a series of posts to Twitter.
“If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” Judd tweeted to his nearly 66,000 followers on Twitter.
Judd also posted that officers would be at every shelter checking IDs and that sex offenders and sex predators would not be allowed inside.
When checking IDs, if an officer sees that someone has a warrant, that person will be taken into custody, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Horstman said.
Horstman added officers don’t have a way of seeing what crime the warrant is for, so it’s possible those with non-violent misdemeanor offenses could be arrested.
This means if someone does not wish to be separated from a loved one, many will take the unnecessary risk of attempting to go a different shelter, or not seeking shelter at all.
“Officers are legally obligated to take a person into custody if they have a warrant,” she said.
Judd said in preparation for the hurricane, fugitives should turn themselves into the jail because “it’s a secure location.”
Horstman said the posts were made ahead of the storm to give people ample time to prepare.
“We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders and predators. Period,” Judd posted to his Twitter, @PolkCoSheriff.
Horstman said since there’s a possibility children will be in the shelters, sex offenders and sex predators are not allowed inside. She said they had a similar policy during the 2004 hurricane season. It’s unclear if any arrests were made at shelters due to warrants.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said Judd should “focus on preparing for Irma, not burnishing your Joe Arpaio-style ‘tough cop’ credentials with irresponsible tweets.”
Arpaio, a former sheriff in Arizona, was found guilty of criminal contempt after denying a court order to halt stopping immigrants because of suspicion they were in the country illegally. He was pardoned by President Donald Trump last month.
The nonprofit says most people with outstanding warrants are low-level offenders and pose no threat in a shelter.
Judd’s comments “send the message that these individuals must choose between facing a natural disaster without aid and shelter or going to jail over things like unpaid traffic tickets,” a statement from ACLU reads.
Asked if supported Judd’s actions, Gov. Rick Scott said, “I haven’t seen that. My expectation is that everyone needs to follow the evacuation orders and get to safety. I’d have to look at exactly what was said.’’
Horstman said undocumented immigrants will not be affected by the policy. She also said that the policy will help the county keep a log at the shelter, which she said is important during a natural disaster.
“We aren’t sitting there looking for people to arrest,” she said “We are sitting there to keep people safe.”
The article continues:
But State Representative Carlos Smith said the practice of checking IDs of evacuees seeking refuge unfairly targeted undocumented immigrants.
“The message has already been received by the 18,000 undocumented persons in Polk County,” Smith said. “This is not the message we need to be sending out with a disaster upon us.”
Smith added that if anyone in Polk County felt threatened to go to shelters in Polk County, “they can absolutely come to Orange County and Orlando.”
While it is comforting that those with outstanding warrants will have somewhere to go, they should not be made to make the choice between their safety and risking arrest. Many will not be alone and will be taking that risk with children or elderly in tow.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think that Sheriff Grady Judd has the citizen’s best interest in mind, or do you think he is excessively exerting his power to vulnerable people in a time of need?
As if Americans, or Israelis, listen to anything the UN says. Another fake war is coming courtesy of the Barbaric States of Dumbmerica. Why can’t the USA live and let live? Go home Yankees and take your troops home while doing it. Barbarians.
The 72nd Regular Session of the U.N. General Assembly will convene on Sept. 12, 2017. | Photo: Reuters
Venezuela is most likely headed for the U.N. Security Council’s agenda as the White House seeks to ratchet-up global action.
Having failed to excite or influence Latin American and Caribbean neighbors to gang-up collectively against Caracas, Washington is now placing its bets on mobilizing international action through the United Nations ahead of very possibly marching U.S. troops in urgent fury into Venezuela.
Following the success of previous military invasions with ‘Urgent Fury’ in Grenada in 1983 and “Desert Storm” in Iraq, persistent efforts in recent years to get the Organization of American States, OAS, to join in a U.S.-led invasion march against founder-member Venezuela have failed.
Since the advent of former President Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian Socialism” declarations and policy initiatives in 1998, successive administrations led by his United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, have come under continuing pressure from Washington.
Successive U.S. ambassadors in Caracas have openly supported anti-Chavez and now anti-President Nicolas Maduro policies while embracing the opposition and supporting their actions with both material assistance and political and economic sanctions against the PSUV governments.
Badly burnt over Grenada and Iraq, Latin American and Caribbean nations, as well as other similar groupings of developing states worldwide, have been very cautious about quickly, overly and overtly supporting direct U.S. intervention in countries.
The mainly English-speaking Caribbean Community, Caricom, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to foreign intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs and support for a peaceful, political solution to the country’s problems.
The smaller Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, OECS, has also supported a peaceful, negotiated solution.
At the wider regional level, while the Mercosur group has shut its doors on Caracas, the majority of Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA, and PetroCaribe member-states support Venezuela’s right to determine its internal affairs without outside intrusion.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, and the Association of Caribbean States, ACS, have not yet become major players in the current dispute, but when they eventually do, there is no doubt they will also oppose external intervention.
Having failed to stop the peaceful and credible election of the National Constituent Assembly, NCA, on July 30, Washington has now declared it an exercise to lead Venezuela on “a path of dictatorship,” according to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in neighboring Colombia last weekend.
Rejecting the transparent vote for the ANC by over 40 percent of the electorate — a greater comparative amount of voters than in any recent U.S. presidential or legislative elections — Washington opted to criminalize the ANC and punish people and entities doing business with it.
Now, having recently persuaded Peru to lead Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and others to take separate unilateral punitive action against Venezuela over the ANC, Washington’s next stop is the U.N., where the annual General Assembly starts in September.
This would not occur in any decent civilization. This is plain barbarism. Why do people glorify America is beyond me. The USA is disintegrating on itself inch by inch by the actions of its own petty government officials. Yeah USA, you’re a real nation of winners. For sure. Disgusting. Let’s hope the prosecutor and judge are Christians so they can go to the hell they believe in.
“Looking at the bigger picture, Piland’s case may serve as an indictment of a justice system and a pharmaceutical industry that will go to great lengths to ensure the truth about cannabis is never told. After all, Piland is a medical doctor who gave up his medical practice to pursue a lifetime of research into cannabis.”
Prosecutors in North Carolina used exaggerated claims to sentence a retired doctor to over 18 years for using cannabis to help his autistic son.
The doctor’s charges were based on the discovery of a couple of old prescriptions that belonged to his deceased parents, and 58 grams of poppy seeds.
The daughter of a doctor who was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was reported for using cannabis to help his autistic son, is now speaking out about how the state went after her father and ensured that he received the maximum sentence.
To highlight how corrupt the system is, around the same time the doctor was sentenced to 18 years for helping people with a plant, a deputy who admitted to despicable acts against an innocent woman received no time behind bars.
Former deputy Robert Retford, with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, was arrested last November on charges of sexual assault. His alleged victim was apparently seeking help from the deputy when she said he beat her, raped her and defecated on her, and then made her drink his urine. This month, Retford pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman and will not spend a single day in jail.
The blue privilege plea deal was negotiated last May, and for admitting to the heinous crimes against his victim, he was only sentenced to six months probation — no jail.
The Free Thought Project first reported on the story of Dr. Gordon Piland III in March. He was arrested after a school social worker reported that he was giving cannabis-infused goat milk to his autistic son. When conducting a follow-up search of Piland’s home, police found marijuana plants growing in the backyard, two bottles of decades-old prescription pills, and a small bag of poppy seeds, which was a gift from a horticulturist.
In an exclusive interview with TFTP, Piland’s daughter Lucy Snow claimed the prosecution used the fact that Piland was in possession of his deceased parents’ prescriptions, and his property’s proximity to an unmarked daycare, as impetus to charge him with trafficking in heroin. As a result, Piland was sentenced to 18-24 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
As we previously reported:
“Monroe Gordon Piland III (69) has lived an amazing life according to some estimates. In the late 1960s early 70s, Piland served as a naval officer, during the Vietnam war. Upon his return to the states, he earned a degree in nutrition from The University of California – Berkeley, and later a medical degree from the prestigious Wake Forest University, formerly a Southern Baptist university. He completed his medical residency in Elizabeth City, NC, and was a board certified medical doctor from 1979-1984.”
While Piland has managed to keep his love for cannabis under the radar since in the 80s, he was going through a tenuous custody battle over his autistic son. His son’s mother was not a cannabis advocate, yet Piland would offer his son goat’s milk infused with cannabis as treatment for his behavioral and cognitive deficits. When the school’s social worker discovered the fact, she sent police to his home to investigate.
As TFTP has reported, many parents—including some politicians—are now giving their children cannabis for autism with astounding results.
That home visit led to the medical doctor’s arrest and conviction in March. At trial, Piland didn’t stand a chance. Snow said her dad’s first mistake was to represent himself in court and take on Assistant District Attorney Alex Bass head-on.
“He was super content to go to court to share his knowledge of medical cannabis and let the chips fall where they may,” Snow said. “But, unfortunately, he couldn’t find a lawyer that wasn’t intimidated by Bass’s trumped up charges and that was willing to fight for him, so he resorted to representing himself, which had disastrous consequences.”
Snow said that instead of charging Piland with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor in the State of North Carolina, Bass decided to charge him with trafficking heroin. Here is what Snow said was found by police when they searched Piland’s home:
“What was found: A 2009 half-full bottle of Percocet/Oxycodone in my grandmother, Lillian Piland’s name, that my dad had failed to dispose of/recycle properly. A single full bottle of Duramorph, belonging to my grandfather, but this wasn’t a charge or used in court as the bottle was full. A few poppy seeds were gifted from my uncle, my mom’s brother, who is a landscape architect and gardener.”
According to Snow, Bass used the Percocet belonging to Piland’s deceased mother and the fact that a home daycare was located nearby to throw the full weight of the law against her father. She said the fact that he was in possession of several pounds of marijuana was never presented in court, making the cannabis activist seem like a heroin dealer and not the curative shaman that he was.
“I don’t know why my dad kept the old pharmaceutical pills, but he tended to be kind of a pack rat or just not be bothered by the little things,” Snow said, noting that one of the key pieces of evidence used against her father was something he didn’t realize he had. “Dad says he didn’t even remember having them as they were found in the back of a drawer.”
Snow said Dr. Piland was naive when he went to trial thinking, that if he just told the truth about his cannabis activism, no jury would convict him.
“After the search and seizure of his house, I think my dad really thought he had a chance to lay his life’s passion and work all out there. I think similar to say, Caitlyn Jenner, somewhere inside he just didn’t want to hide anymore, knowing what he knows and being the ripe age of 70. He was super content to go to court to share his knowledge of medical cannabis and let the chips fall where they may.”
After the prosecution presented its case, and without his own legal representation, the jury took less than 30 minutes to convict Dr. Piland of trafficking heroin—presumably due in part to his possession of 58 grams of poppy seeds. Here’s what about twice that amount looks like:
Snow told The Free Thought Project that she wishes her father had been given a plea deal, but said the prosecutor knew he could easily get a conviction, due to the fact that the senior citizen was choosing to represent himself. As a result, the physician’s daughter now views her father’s conviction with disdain, and especially resents ADA Bass who she says lied about her father and mischaracterized him.
“DA Alex Bass stated my dad had ‘a large cache of dangerous and highly addictive opioid drugs for sale and distribution’ and he knows this is a lie. The truth is only a SINGLE nearly decade old forgotten pharmaceutical bottle belonging to my deceased grandmother and the happenstance of living near an unmarked daycare was used as evidence for sending my non-violent father to prison for life.”
The teacher and daughter of a marijuana activist now accuses prosecutor Bass of sending an innocent man to prison and says he knew full well Piland was no heroin trafficker.
“Bass’s decisions were not only immoral, but go against many standards that Prosecutors are sworn to uphold,” Snow said. “He knows good and well, without a doubt, as does anyone who looks at the evidence, that opium or heroin selling, trafficking, or usage was not occurring.”
Snow said the punishment does not fit the crime, and she pointed to other cases where people were convicted of trafficking in heroin but received much softer sentences.
Piland’s life story might have been written differently had he resided in a state other than North Carolina. To date, there are 29 U.S. states that have legalized medical marijuana in some form. In fact, in some of those other states, Piland may very well have been able to serve as a certifying doctor for medical marijuana, given the fact that he once held board certification as a practicing MD. But he chose to live in the state he loved, and now has to pay a heavy price for dabbling in marijuana.
Looking at the bigger picture, Piland’s case may serve as an indictment of a justice system and a pharmaceutical industry that will go to great lengths to ensure the truth about cannabis is never told. After all, Piland is a medical doctor who gave up his medical practice to pursue a lifetime of research into cannabis. Unfortunately, anyone who may want to glean from what he knows will have to go and visit him in the Marion, NC Correctional Institute.
A bunch of white middle age men arguing over the legality of a plant that is now proven to be one of the world’s best medicines ever. Yup, this is the Barbaric States of Dumbmerica. This is the era of IDIOCRACY for sure. Eejits.
In an epic push back against the tyranny of Jeff Sessions and his war on an amazing plant, lawmakers crossed party lines to legalize cannabis — federally.
In a bipartisan push back against the tyrannical Jeff Sessions and his relentless war on cannabis, U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) have introduced a bill that will end federal prohibition of marijuana.
“The fact is our marijuana laws in America are broken,” Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said at the bill’s unveiling at the Capitol. “They are savagely broken, and the jagged pieces are hurting American people.”
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would go directly after the DEA’s absurd and immoral classification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. It would allow for the states to act on their own in regards to possession, production, and distribution of medical marijuana.
While this bill was originally introduced in 2015 — as the first ever medical marijuana bill in the US Senate — it now boasts even more support, adding Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mike Lee.
This bill mirrors bipartisan legislation that was introduced in Congress by Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to exclude cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in February, and illustrates how preventing the government from caging and killing people over a plant has transcended party lines.
The CARERS Act also specifically addresses veterans and the ability to obtain this most beneficial plant. SB-683 directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to authorize VA health care providers to provide veterans with recommendations and opinions regarding participation in state marijuana programs.
“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.
“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”
This bill comes at a dire time in the history of cannabis prohibition in America. Just after tyrant Jeff Sessions was exposed for privately sending a letter to congressional leaders asking them to turn legal medical marijuana patients into criminals, Republicans and Democrats put their party differences aside and joined forces to stave off the inevitable persecution of innocence that would follow such assinine policy.
“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions penned. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
“I dare him to sit down with families and listen to their stories and then pursue a policy like he’s advocating for now,” Booker says of Sessions’ letter.
However, judging from Sessions’ ignorance and obstinance on the issue of marijuana, he would most likely arrest the parents and their child for possessing a controlled substance.
As Rolling Stone reports, While the bill’s proponents know their proposal faces an uphill battle, they also say they believe the effort is quickly picking up steam, especially because many red states have now passed some form of legal weed. “I believe things are changing and they’re changing fast,” Sen. Gillibrand tells Rolling Stone. “I think we will get the support we need.”
Gillibrand is right, the times are changing. People are no longer accepting the status quo of government kidnapping and caging people for possessing a plant. People are also waking up to the fact that cannabis is a medicine and can fight our current opioid problem in this country.
Those who continue to persecute their fellow American for possessing this plant would do well to get on the right side of history and refuse to enforce such tyranny. After all, without the state’s enforcers willing to ruin people’s lives by extorting, kidnapping, caging, and killing people over pot, prohibition is nothing more a piece of paper, scribbled on by a bunch of corrupt lowlifes who couldn’t care less about their fellow human.
Silly Cubans, did you actually believe that the Barbaric States of Dumbmerica would actually deal fairly with you? The real question is, why does the US think it can inflict its morbid and self-centered view of the world on the rest of the world? The entire planet should rise up and demand that the US stop interfering with other nations. What a joke, as the USA cannot even take care of itself (Think Baltimore, Detroit; think education, water, crumbling infrastructure, etc.).
Government denounces new US restrictions on trade and travel, saying attempts to change its political system will fail.
Government denounces new US restrictions on trade and travel, saying attempts to change its political system will fail.
The Cuban government of Raul Castro has criticised Donald Trump’s “hostile rhetoric” in announcing new restrictions on US ties to the country, but repeated its willingness to hold “respectful dialogue” with Washington.
Earlier on Friday, the US president pledged to overhaul his predecessor Barack Obama’s Cuba policy.
“The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo” imposed since 1962, according to a statement read on Cuban state television.
However, it said Cuba “reiterates its willingness to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation” that have taken place with Washington since 2015 when the drive for restored ties began under Obama.
Although the policy changes announced were limited, Trump has tightened rules for Americans travelling to Cuba, banned ties with a military-run tourism firm and reaffirmed the existing US trade embargo.
The Cuban statement criticised the “hostile rhetoric that recalls the time of open confrontation,” and “return to the coercive methods of the past”.
It regretted “a reversal in relations between the two countries”.
“Any strategy to change the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether through pressure … or through more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure”.
Diplomatic ties to remain
Diplomatic relations, restored only two years ago, will remain intact. But, in a shift from Obama’s approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.
“America has rejected the Cuban people’s oppressors,” Trump said in Miami’s Little Havana.
Declaring Obama’s pact with Castro a “completely one-sided deal”, Trump said he was cancelling it.
In practice, however, many recent changes to boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are.
Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. US airlines and cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island.
The “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which once let most Cuban migrants stay if they made it to US soil but was terminated under Obama, will remain terminated.
Remittances from people in the US to Cubans will not be cut off.
But individual “people-to-people” trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited.
And the US government will police other trips to ensure travellers are pursuing a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities”.
Trump said that easing restrictions on trade and travel only helps the Castro government, and he wants US money to go only to the fledgling private sector.
But the overwhelming majority of the Cuban economy is controlled by the government.
“The Cuban people were so excited when President Obama came,” Caridad Gonzalez, who runs a bed-and-breakfast, told Al Jazeera.
“We thought our lives would improve, and with tourism they did. But now we’re being blocked again. It’s the people who’ll suffer the consequences, not the Cuban state.”
Some 285,000 people visited the Caribbean country in 2016, up 74 percent over 2015, with Americans the third-biggest group after Canadians and Cuban expatriates.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone