Cuba announces five days of military exercises


The island nation’s main newspaper announced Wednesday that Cuban military will conduct five days of exercises. Havana gave no word on whether the exercises were in response to the US election.

Cuba announced Wednesday that the country would conduct five days of military exercises throughout the country.

The country’s main newspaper, Granma, announced the exercises in red lettering. The exercises include “movement of troops and materials of war, and use of aviation and explosions when required” to confront what it called “a range of actions by the enemy,” a common reference to the United States in Cuba. The military exercises, known as “Bastion,” were announced shortly after Donald Trump won the United States presidential election, though Cuban authorities did not release an official reaction to the election. The exercises are slated to take place November 16-20.

This will be the seventh time “Bastion” exercises will take place, and they usually occur during times of heightened tensions between the US and Cuba. The first such exercise took place in 1980 after the election of Ronald Reagan. Outgoing US President Barack Obama has worked since 2014 towards normalizing relations between the two countries after more than 50 years of hostility dating back to the Cold War, which president-elect Trump vowed to reverse unless Cuban President Raul Castro agreed to more political freedom for Cubans.

The normalization provided a tourism boom to Cuba and brought in more countries interested in doing business with the island nation. With Trump’s election, Cubans fear the improvements in the course of improved relations between the two countries will go away. “The little we’ve advanced, if (Trump) reverses it, it hurts us,” said taxi driver Oriel Iglesias Garcia before the US election. “You know tourism will go down. If Donald Trump wins and turns everything back it’s really bad for us.”

But Trump’s victory may please those in Cuban leadership who worry that Cuba was getting too comfortable too quickly with the Untied States. “There’s been a lot of rejection of what’s been done with Obama. Many Cubans think that a situation of confrontation is better for the revolution,” said Carlos Alzugaray, a political scientist and retired Cuban diplomat.

kbd/kl (AP, dpa, Reuters)


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