HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba accused U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday of being “imperial, arrogant” and dishonest during last week’s global climate conference in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between Havana and Washington.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in a televised press conference that Obama lied during the United Nations summit in Copenhagen and is making a habit of it after less than a year in office.
“He lies all the time, deceives with demagogic words, with profound cynicism,” Rodriguez told reporters.
“In this summit there was only an imperial, arrogant Obama who doesn’t listen, who imposes positions that even threaten developing countries,” he said.
The much-heralded gathering sought a global reduction in the emission of “greenhouse gases” blamed for warming the earth’s climate but ended only with the delegates taking note of a nonbinding accord struck by the United States, China, Brazil, India and South Africa to combat climate change.
Cuba joined Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua in opposing formal U.N. adoption of the deal which they and other developing nations saw as an imposition by powerful nations.
“The Copenhagen summit was a failure and a deception to world public opinion. The cause is clearly evident — lack of political will by the developed countries,” Rodriguez said.
His blistering attack on Obama follows other recent verbal assaults by Cuban leaders including President Raul Castro and his brother, former leader Fidel Castro, who have gone from initial praise of the U.S. president to condemnation.
They are saying with increasing frequency that Obama, despite early assurances that he wanted to “recast” relations with Cuba, has done little to change U.S. policy toward the island.
President Castro cited the December 5 arrest in Cuba of a U.S. citizen accused of helping government opposition by distributing illegal satellite equipment.
“The U.S. government has not renounced the destruction of the revolution (and) in recent weeks we’ve been witnesses to a multiplying of such efforts by the new administration,” said Castro, who replaced his brother as president last year.
Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public since having intestinal surgery in 2006, recently wrote that Obama was not to be trusted and his “friendly smile” was hiding sinister U.S. intentions to overthrow leftist governments in Latin America.
Obama has slightly eased the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba by lifting restrictions on travel and remittances to the island by Cuban Americans. He has also initiated talks on migration and the resumption of postal service.
A second round of migration talks was supposed to be held in Havana earlier this month, but was postponed for what was described as a scheduling problem.
Editing by Jeff Franks and Anthony Boadle