Just as he said in his campaign, President Donald Trump changed the United States’ policy towards Cuba. In addition to wiping clean one of President Barack Obama’s legacies regarding relations with the rest of America, the bully is trying to secure allies among the congressmen that support the expulsion of Cubans from the country.
The justification for this seems to be Trump’s quest to destroy the legacy of his predecessor. That is just the tip of the iceberg. What is truly important is the hold outs against the Castro dictatorship, which has been [Raul] Castro’s justification for preserving the repression and communism in the land of Jose Marti.
In a passionate speech, Trump kept his promises to the anti-Castro exiles of Florida who were a determining factor in his gaining support and winning the presidency. By arguing that the relaxation of the embargo, “has not helped the people and only has made the Cuban regime richer,” he expressed his demands to the government of Raul Castro for the continuation of a dialogue: freedom of all political prisoners, the call for free election and respect for the right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Of course, the Castro regime didn’t miss the opportunity and responded with a grandiose rejection of “imperialist interventionism.” Additionally, following the style of Nicolas Maduro, he accused Trump of causing harm to the Cuban people and their freedoms. In other words, in so far as most of the agreement is annulled, they’ll find an argument to continue smothering Cuba and her need to open herself up to the world in order to be a modern nation instead of a ghetto.
Trump’s reinforcement, however, didn’t throw everything away. The embassies that reopened their doors after more than 50 years of broken relations will remain open. Neither commercial flights nor cruises were banned, remittances from the United States to Cuba will continue coming, and the “wet feet, dry feet” strategy that allowed Cubans to enter the United States without a visa will not be re-established.
What will the stage be after this decision? The possibility of normalizing relations between the countries is gone. There is no obvious solution, and the only thing that’s certain is the hard line for Cuban expats has been met which gives Trump a little breathing room in the middle of the complex domestic situation that he faces.
In the coming months, Trump will reinforce the embargo, restrict travel to Havana and limit commercial openings, moves which are praised by some Cuban exiles. However many of the Cubans in the United States don’t want this policy. The communist Cuban regime will remain isolated, appealing to its old way of spreading fear among its citizens and justifying repression with the threat of an impending imperial invasion.
What is to come includes a volley of exaggerated phrases from one side to the other, which will return us to frozen relations — relations that had some hope only 15 months ago. The possibility of changing the dictatorship in Cuba by being receptive has been lost.