The US President-elect, Donald Trump has said that ‘if Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the US as a whole, I will terminate deal’.
His tweet, which used language seemingly designed to drive a wedge between Cuba and the US and end President Obama’s policy of détente, followed the death of the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, who passed away on the evening on Friday November 25 at the age of 90.
While Mr Trump did not specify what he intends to do or what deal he was referring to, the US media quoted aides who said that he would, as promised during his campaign, demand the release of political prisoners held in Cuba and push the government to allow more religious and economic freedoms.
Cuba, however, has no history of responding to demands or threats, so it appears likely that Mr Trump’s suggestion and seeming lack of respect may be robustly rejected at some time after the period of mourning for the country’s former leader ends.
Nine days of mourning in Havana
Following Dr Castro’s death, the Cuban government declared nine days of national mourning, ending when the former President’s remains are interred on December 4 in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, close to the site of Cuba’s most prominent national hero, José Martí.
For most Cubans, the former President’s death marks the end of an era and a time of genuine sadness. Widely admired at home, he led a rebel army to victory in Cuba at the age of 32 over a US backed dictatorship, and went on to deliver a range of social achievements for Cuba’s poor. He also contributed decisively to ending colonialism in Africa, and defied the power of 10 US presidents, despite the small size of his country.
This was no mean achievement, as it came against a background of US attempts to invade, subvert his Government and to assassinate him; actions that seemed only to strengthen Cuban resolve and national identity
Despite the mixed media coverage in US and in parts of Europe, the former President remained widely respected across the country as the father of modern Cuba, and someone who had given Cubans and Cuban nationalism an identity in the world.
Most Cubans attribute to him their high standards of free education, free quality health care, high levels of life expectancy and other national accomplishments closer to those of most developed countries. They also note the racial equality that Dr Castro went a long way to delivering, and, more recently, the benefits that are now accruing from the country’s globally advanced scientific research. On a personal level…..
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