Cuba rejects ‘hostile rhetoric’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Cuban government is rejecting what it calls the “hostile rhetoric” of President Donald Trump’s speech announcing a new U.S. policy toward the island, but says it is willing to continue “respectful dialogue” with the U.S. on topics of mutual interest.

In a statement released on government-run websites and television Friday evening, President Raul Castro’s administration says Trump’s speech was “loaded with hostile rhetoric that recalls the times of open confrontation.”

The lengthy statement goes on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the U.S. on a variety of subjects.

Cuba says “the last two years have shown that the two countries can cooperate and coexist in a civilized way.”

Trump is clamping down on some commerce and travel between the United States and Cuba but leaving intact many new avenues President Barack Obama had opened.

Trump is challenging Cuba to negotiate better agreements for Americans, Cubans and those whose identities lie somewhere in between. Diplomatic relations, restored only two years ago, will remain intact, but, Trump says some penalties will stay in place until a long list of prerequisites is met.