Report: Cuba slams US pre-Obama visit

Cuba on Wednesday publicly bashed the United States, publishing an editorial in state-run media fiercely criticizing its neighbor before President Obama’s visit later this month.

“[Cuba does not have to] renounce any of its principles or cede the slightest bit in its defense,” the article in the Communist Party newspaper Granma said, according to Reuters.

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“[The United States] should abandon the pretense of fabricating an internal political opposition, paid for with money from U.S. taxpayers,” the approximately 3,000-word editorial continued.

Granma’s editorial took issue with the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and its government’s support of human rights activists there.

It added that Cuba’s leadership has no intention of changing its policies in exchange for normalizing diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Wednesday’s editorial comes 11 days before Obama makes his historic journey to the island nation from March 20 to 22.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that the U.S. plans on announcing eased travel and trade restrictions with Cuba next week.

The new rules — due out March 17 — will likely smooth the process of visiting Cuba for individual American travelers under 12 authorized categories of travel. They will additionally loosen banking and trade restrictions between Havana and Washington, D.C., which have existed between the two rivals for years.

Obama’s trek to Cuba marks the first time a sitting American president has visited the country in almost 90 years. The two countries have engaged in a long-standing rivalry based on tensions between capitalist and communist governments started during the Cold War.

Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced in December 2014 that their respective countries were normalizing diplomatic relations. The president plans on discussing human rights with the Castro administration during his meeting with its officials later this month.