14ymedio, Havana, 19 February 2019 — Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, challenged US President Donald Trump on Tuesday to demonstrate that the island has troops in Venezuela. Rodriguez insisted that the United States “manufactured” a “humanitarian pretext” to invade Venezuela and refrained from answering the question of what would happen in case of an armed intervention in the Caribbean country.
“The accusation by the US president that Cuba has a private army in Venezuela is infamous, and I urge him to present evidence, and our government rejects that slander in the strongest and most categorical terms,” said Rodríguez Parrilla, who said that the more than 20,000 Cuban professionals in Venezuela are civilians.
According to the foreign minister, 94% of Cubans in Venezuela are “healthcare workers” although he also acknowledged that others provide services in educational areas and other economic spheres.
Rodriguez Parrilla added that the “Cuban aid workers” in Venezuela already participated in the referendum for the approval of the constitutional reform “in a massive way” and “despite the circumstances” they live normally in that country.
“I firmly reject President Trump’s attempted intimidation of those who, in a sovereign manner, decided to build and defend socialism,” added Rodriguez Parrilla. One day earlier the president of the United States said at the International University of Florida that the “days are numbered” for socialism in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The Cuban foreign minister again denounced that the United States plans a military invasion in Venezuela for which military transport flights are ongoing in the Caribbean. To the question of what Cuba would do in the face of a military intervention in Venezuela, Rodríguez Parrilla shied away from answering a “hypothetical question.”
“The government of the Republic of Cuba has consistently denounced that the US government is preparing a military aggression against Venezuela with humanitarian pretexts,” he said. According to the foreign minister, the United States continues to transport troops “with complete ignorance” of the governments of some countries in the area.
The high official claimed to have evidence of US military movements that presage an imminent invasion. “Cuba calls on the international community to support peace and against military intervention in Venezuela,” he said.
Rodríguez Parrilla responded to Trump’s speech in Miami accusing the United States of having a “corrupt” political system, where elections “are won by manipulating people.” The foreign minister also touched on, in a long “anti-imperialist” speech, the situation of unions, the African-American community, the poor and migrants in the United States.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry also responded that the country is prepared for an eventual enforcement of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. “We have a program, with a predictable plan for the economy until 2030. The Cuban economy has a strong international anchor,” argued the foreign minister.
Rodriguez Parrilla said that the application of the section of the Helms-Burton Law that would allow suits against international companies that “traffic” with properties expropriated by the Cuban government in the early 1960s will have “strong resistance” from the countries that have investments in the island.
“I know of a strong opposition from many member states of the European Union and other industrialized nations, I know of substantial diplomatic exchanges and I am convinced that these nations will defend not only the sovereignty of their states but also their national interests,” said Rodriguez Parrilla.
Rodriguez dismissed as “a clumsy and crude statement” the speech that the US president, Donald Trump, delivered Monday in Miami, where the Republican proclaimed the death of socialism in America and said that Cuba controls Venezuela.
“How many times have US characters announced the end of socialism?” asked the Cuban minister, who criticized Trump’s “amoral government” and his “polarization of society” through “hatred and division.”
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