Cuban Foreign Minister urges Biden to lift Trump sanctions

HAVANA, Sept. 30th Cuba’s top diplomat is urging President Biden to lift Trump-era sanctions on his country, calling it a “pity” that the White House is allowing them to stand so far.

In an interview with MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla called it a “terrible mistake” to continue the sanctions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Maybe there is an inertia effect. It’s a pity that President Biden couldn’t implement his own policy toward Cuba, which it could be normally different from the previous one,” Rodriguez said.

“But it’s a terrible mistake to continue implementing this kind of cruel sanctions, even sanctions during a pandemic,” he continued.

The Trump administration imposed more than 200 restrictions on Cuba and added it to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, NBC News noted, while also scaling back staffing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Rodriguez told MSNBC that the U.S.’s policy of easing relations with Cuba under former President Obama showed that it’s possible to have a “different kind” of the relationship between the two nations “despite profound political differences between the governments.”

“And we are ready for establishing … some responsible dialogue with the U.S. administration,” he said.

Earlier this year, thousands in Cuba participated in an unprecedented protest against food shortages and high prices sparked by the pandemic. The U.S. and 20 other countries condemned Cuba for the arrest of dozens of protesters that participated in the march.

Asked if those who were detained would be released, Rodriguez said his government has to “respect our laws.”

“There were violence, riots, attacks against commercial establishments…even against a police officer,” he said. “And we have to implement our laws.” (The Hill)