HAVANA, CUBA - Cuba’s foreign minister on Tuesday accused the United States of violating the Vienna Convention and the deal re-establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Soon after, the United States announced a new sanction on Cuba meant to cut off the island’s supply of petroleum from Venezuela.
In two tweets, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said unspecified “illegal actions” by the U.S. Embassy in Havana violated both the international codes of conduct for diplomats and the agreement to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana in 2015.
“Illegal actions by #US embassy in #Cuba are interference in the internal affairs of the country and are intended to attack our constitutional order,” Rodríguez tweeted. “They violate the Vienna Convention, the agreement for the re-establishment of relations and Cuban and US laws.”
The U.S. Treasury said it was designating the Cuban company Corporacion Panamericana S.A. as a violator of American sanctions on Venezuela. Such designations make it difficult for companies like Panamericana to do business even outside the United States due to third parties’ fears of repercussions for dealing with a sanctioned entity.
The Treasury Department said that after the U.S. sanctioned the state-owned oil importer Cubametales, Cuba moved employees and contracts over to Panamericana, which was not yet sanctioned.
In one example that occurred over the summer, Cuba shifted its dealings with a North African oil provider from Cubametales to Corporacion Panamericana, the Treasury Department said.
A Cubametales official who also worked in a similar position at Corporacion Panamericana negotiated a deal to buy gasoline from a European company, the Treasury statement said.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Cuba over Washington’s steadily increasing pressure on the communist government.
The U.S. has prohibited cruise travel to Cuba, U.S. flights to cities outside Havana and support for Venezuela oil shipments to the island. The Trump administration says it hopes to cripple the Cuban government’s ability to support Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.