A top Cuban diplomat reportedly said Monday that some officials in the U.S. government want to “sever” the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.
Carlos Fernández de Cossio, the Cuban foreign ministry’s general director for U.S. affairs, made his comments outside a U.S.-Cuba academic conference in Havana, saying some U.S. officials are aiming to “increasingly apply hostile measures.”
“There are powerful people today in the U.S. government that would want to increasingly apply hostile measures and to sever our bilateral relationship. If that were to be the case, we are ready to face that reality,” de Cossio said, according to NBC News.
He added that harming the relationship “is not what the people of Cuba want. It’s not what the government of Cuba is seeking. And, again, we know it’s not what the people of the United States would want.”
A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that there are no plans to “break off diplomatic ties at this time” but that “the Castro regime’s abuses of its own people” are at a “low point.”
“It’s hard to imagine the relationship improving significantly unless the Cuban government takes real steps to allow dissenting voices, to respect the rights of its people, and to cease its malign activities in the region,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Relations with Cuba improved under former President Obama after he visited the country and nominated the first U.S. ambassador to the island nation in decades. President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats secure fast-track to the floor for Canada-Mexico trade deal Mexican official says he’s ‘very satisfied’ with USMCA after recent concern More than 700 historians sign letter calling for House to impeach Trump MORE has chilled relations somewhat and called for more restrictions.
The U.S. has applied sanctions on Cuba in the past due to its support of Venezuela and human rights violations.
The State Department has also requested the release of José Daniel Ferrer, a prominent opponent of the Cuban government who has been imprisoned since early October, according to NBC News.
Updated at 7:43 p.m.