Trump Rolls Back Obama-led Cuba Opening With Limits on New Deals
- Author: Bernice Underwood Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 0:56
He also maintained Obama's decision to cancel the wet-foot/dry-foot immigration policy that allowed Cuban refugees automatic asylum if they touched USA soil.
"It is inexcusable that the Cuban government could be holding anywhere from 75 to 95 political prisoners", said Jason Marczak, of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council. Efforts to paint Raul as a reformer were laughable and unsuccessful. It was a win-win for the former president: Like Richard Nixon opened China, Obama opened Cuba.
During the Obama years, the statement said, the two countries have shown that they can "cooperate and coexist in a civilized way, respecting their differences, and promoting that which benefits both nations and peoples".
Despite claiming to be canceling the deal "effective immediately", at the end of the speech Trump signed a presidential directive that the Commerce and Treasury departments begin drawing up changes to the Obama administration's most recent regulations within 30 days. "And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands".
"Unfortunately, progress under the new policy has not materialized".
President Trump's Miami speech on Friday was rooted in the fact that his administration will enforce current law, or the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. Last week, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to back new sanctions on Russian Federation.
While re-frosting the relationship with Cuba would fulfill another of President Trump's campaign promises, it would weaken his position both at home and overseas by not only failing to meet his desired policy outcomes, but also making it more hard for the United States to achieve other policy objectives in the Americas.
"What they're doing is enhancing the opportunity to do business with Cubans". Be mindful that Cuba's pals are Venezuela, Russia and China.
Plus, if we are going to argue about human rights, we can remind them of the racial discrimination United States citizens suffer and the murders of black citizens by white policemen, the millions of people who don't have access to healthcare, the exploitation immigrants are subjected to, making them work never-ending days for poor salaries; job discrimination for women, who earn less than men even though they do the same jobs, child labor exploitation and the gun violence which leaves thousands of innocent people dead every year.
Confusion remains about what will be allowed and whether individual visitors could simply come in under the "support for the Cuban people" category now. Some U.S. companies are attempting to do business on the island - though at least a few have given up that idea, after learning how Cuban leaders treat private enterprise.
But there are some things that will remain essentially unchanged - cruise ship travel, family visits, money sent for family support and commercial air travel, for starters.
However, Trump left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened United States embassy in Havana. He said that the US President's rollback would strengthen Cuban patriotism.
The next Summit of the Americas, slated for 2018, could present President Trump with the opportunity to seek partners in pursuing his agenda in the region, but his shift in Cuban policy will likely hinder cooperation and earn him a far less positive reception than Obama received at the last Summit.