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Cubans fear Trump to reverse opening, army drills announced

Published:Wednesday | November 9, 2016 | 11:18 PM


Cubans worried yesterday that President Donald Trump would throw the United States' two-year-old detente with Cuba into reverse, erasing their hopes for a more prosperous future of normal ties with Washington.

The Cuban government, meanwhile, announced the launch of five days of nationwide military exercises to prepare troops to confront what it called "a range of actions by the enemy," using terminology that almost always refers to the United States.

The government did not link the exercises to Donald Trump's U.S. presidential victory, but the announcement of manoeuvres and tactical exercises across the country came nearly simultaneously with Trump's surprise win. It was the seventh time Cuba has held what it calls the Bastion Strategic Exercise, often in response to points of high tension with the United States.

Trump has promised to reverse Obama's opening unless President Raul Castro agrees to more political freedom on the island, a concession considered a virtual impossibility. Many Cubans said they feared they were on the verge of losing the few improvements they had seen in their lives thanks to a post-detente boom in tourism. Along with a surge in visitors, normalisation has set off visits by hundreds of executives from the US and dozens of other nations newly interested in doing business on the island.