Cuba Says It Will Not Send Fugitives Back To the US

Places are reserved for journalists in the hearing room ahead of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Hart Senate Office Building

Cuba's foreign minister rejected President Donald Trump's new policy toward the island, saying Monday that "we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat" and refusing to return USA fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

"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.

"These measures reinforce our patriotism", Rodriguez said, giving the clearest signal yet that the Cuban government would meet Trump's harder line with their own tough talk.

"Now that I am President, we will expose the crimes of the Castro regime", Trump told the crowd, who interrupted him several times to chant, "USA!"

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. "The US government doesn't have the moral authority to give lessons on human rights or democracy".

'In tune with the national legislation and worldwide law, and Latin America's tradition, Cuba has granted political asylum or refuge to civil rights fighters from the United States, ' Rodriguez noted at a press conference in this capital today.


Surrounded by Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents, Trump announced from a theater in Miami that the US would impose new limits on USA travelers to the island and ban any payments to the military-linked conglomerate that controls much of the island's tourism industry.

"I have continued to press both the Obama and Trump Administrations for the return of Joanne Chesimard, and am pleased that the president today made her return - in clear and absolute terms, as I have insisted - contingent upon any further US engagement in Cuba".

While Trump said the new measures are created to help Cuba's small but growing private business sector, they could have the impact of scaring off American visitors confused by the growing complexity of travel to the island.

'When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be ready, willing, and able to come to the table to negotiate that much better deal for Cubans, for Americans, ' Trump said.

According to Rodriguez, over the past few years, the Cuban government has repatriated 12 US fugitive citizens wanted in that country, "as a unilateral decision and an act of good will".

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