Friday 18 June 2021

Trump, A Concern For Cuba

Are the new US-Cuba relations in jeopardy under Donald Trump?
Are the new US-Cuba relations in jeopardy under Donald Trump?

TODAY CUBA NEWS – During a visit to Florida 24 hours before Election Day, now President-elect Donald Trump pledged he would “stand with the people of Cuba and Venezuela in their fight against oppression” and that he would “bring jobs and education … to Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Venezuelans and all Floridians.”

While this was uplifting for several Cuban-Americans who voted for Trump in Florida, such message was received with mixed feelings from those living in the island.

People wait for visas outside the U.S Embassy in Havana, the day after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Desmond Boylan AP
People wait for visas outside the U.S Embassy in Havana, the day after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Desmond Boylan AP

There is a rising concern that President Barack Obama’s legacy will be in peril due to a Republican majority in Congress and with Trump as president. In fact, one of Obama’s landmark decisions was to thaw U.S.-Cuba relations after more than 50 years of political estrangement. However, this may change in the next four years.

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According to the Miami Herald, Trump can reverse some of the “concessions” the Obama administration made to Cuba, yet some of the commercial initiatives may not be undone. In mid-October, Obama announced that U.S. travelers could bring unlimited quantities of Cuban cigars and rum, and U.S. companies began establishing ventures and deals in Cuba.

According to the Miami Herald, Trump can reverse some of the “concessions” the Obama administration made to Cuba, yet some of the commercial initiatives may not be undone. In mid-October, Obama announced that U.S. travelers could bring unlimited quantities of Cuban cigars and rum, and U.S. companies began establishing ventures and deals in Cuba.

For Cuba, the main concern is the new Congress, which will be run by Republicans. By mandate, Congress has the power to lift the Cuban embargo, but this possibility may be fading away. “I’m not concerned about Trump more than I’m about [the new] Congress,” Viviana Díaz Frías, a Cuban journalist living in Havana, said in an email. “There is a conservative majority, and some [members of Congress] have adopted an anti-Cuban position. We are still under a big commotion after Trump’s victory.”

People line up outside the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, the day after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the U.S. general election. Desmond Boylan AP
People line up outside the United States embassy in Havana, Cuba, the day after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the U.S. general election. Desmond Boylan AP

A Cuban government employer told Mexican newspaper El Financiero that Trump being president “is not good for us, because if there was sluggishness in [bilateral] talks, it’ll be worse as of this point.”

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Views on the Cuban embargo are mixed due to a generation chasm among Cuban-Americans. According to the Atlantic:

“A slight majority of Cuban-Americans living in Miami-Dade County who also left the island between 1959 and 1964 … oppose reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. But when it comes to Cuban-Americans who left in later years, that opposition flips, as 65% of those who came between 1981 and 1994 and 80% who came between 1995 and 2014 favor diplomatic relations with Cuba.”

The Cuban-American vote in Florida may have caused some collateral damage. The Miami Herald reports Trump can deport more than 35,000 Cubans who have an arrest warrant for committing crimes in the United States, as part of the pledge he made on 60 Minutes about deporting 3 million undocumented immigrants who have faced criminal charges.

Previously, Trump expressed opposition with respect to the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in February, he said allowing Cuban immigrants legal access to the United States is wrong and unfair. A stronger position on immigration can exacerbate a crisis  hundreds of Cubans have grappled with in recent months, as they trek across a perilous journey from Cuba to South America, up through Central America and across the U.S.-Mexico border.

It remains to be seen whether Trump will upend U.S.-Cuban relations. For now, uncertainty looms large.

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Article first appeared at TodayCuba.com. Reposted with permission.

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FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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Article first appeared at TodayCuba.com. Reposted with permission.

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