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Trump To Reverse Obama Progress On Cuba

In a few days president Donald Trump will announce his decision on Cuba after an analysis by his team of president Barack Obama’s easing of the trade and travel restrictions. The news will not be good for those that hoped for a continued openness with the island. Trump is likely to roll back all if not most of the progress made since the groundbreaking announcement in December of 2014 by Obama and Cuban president Raul Castro that they were going to seek closer relations after fifty years of detente. This is in spite of the fact that a bi-partisan group of 54 lawmakers introduced a bill just this past week to further ease travel restrictions to Cuba. It is also against the will of the majority of Americans who wish the travel restrictions and the embargo lifted.

So, one may ask, why is Trump doing this? Why pursue a policy that has failed for fifty years and only hurt the Cuban people? The answer is Cuban-American lawmakers Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Bob Menendez and other hardliners in the powerful Cuban-American community. Though they do not have as much sway in Florida as they used to, the hardline Cuban-Americans still have a lot of money and political clout. Trump is sure to want their support in the 2020 election to win Florida again. Though many younger Cuban-Americans, (like me), wish to open up Cuba the older generations want the doors closed forever. Why? Out of spite.

My family suffered under both Fulgencio Batista and Fidel Castro. No one is denying that the system in Cuba needs to move away from the totalitarian Soviet-style system and more towards an open society while retaining their socialist values. But this is not the way to do it. Dictatorships flourish in the darkness and keeping the light on Cuba will force them to change. After all, the Soviet Union did not collapse until we opened up to them. Ditto with China and Vietnam. I am a little surprised that Trump would listen to the Cuban-American lawmakers instead of to his own greed. You know he wants to open Trump hotels in Havana and Varadero. This is one of the first times I’ve seen him work against his self-interest.

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