While the European Union opens a new era of relations with Cuba and begins a permanent process of cooperation and investment on the island, the U.S. administration takes a step in the opposite direction, arbitrarily passing legislation that casts a shadow over the historic agreements reached by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama re-establishing relations after six decades of rupture. The latest obstacle is the supposed “acoustic attacks” on U.S. embassy personnel in Havana — vibrations with a frequency of the speed of sound, which, it is claimed, cause deafness, dizziness and nausea. Is Cuba now so technologically advanced that they are using cyber warfare tactics? A few days ago, the Associated Press revealed that it had access to a report from the FBI’s Operational Technology branch confirming no proof was found of any aggression on Cuba’s part. In response, Washington expelled Cuban diplomats from the U.S. and indefinitely canceled the granting of visas.
Since June of last year, President Trump has made his intentions clear to reverse the agreements reached by Castro and Obama, stating as a condition “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people. And the freeing of political prisoners.” Trump also expressed his disposition in negotiating a new agreement. “We will not lift sanctions on Cuba until it releases all political prisoners and respects the Cuban people’s right to freedom of assembly and expression.”* The stage for this occasion was chosen deliberately: the theater in the Little Havana section of Miami. Cuba’s reaction to this has been a refusal to backtrack on bilateral relations, a refusal to reinstate the blockade and a refusal to tolerate the interference of its internal affairs, the confrontational rhetoric, and the systematic manipulation of human rights issues.
In a counter to this sort of club-thumping politics, Cuba has expressed its intention to the U.S. to actively implement the agreements on both sides through a series of concrete actions by different Cuban entities that will advance cooperation in areas of mutual benefit. The international community has also expressed its condemnation of the Trump administration’s decision to rip up the agreements that reestablished relations between the island and the U.S.
Amidst the turbulence caused by the real estate magnate, Cuba, no stranger to name-calling — its people even referred to as “true savages” in the past — the EU’s decision to vamp up relations with the island is certainly comforting. At the beginning of this year, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Frederica Mogherini, announced that the EU would now be Cuba’s top trade partner, investor and collaborator in the island’s development. This included the signing of a series of political agreements and three new investment projects totaling 49 million euros. “In a meeting with Chancellor Bruno Rodriguez, we called on our departments to move forward with as many issues as possible between now and February, when we’ll organize the first council. We’re going to explore issues of common interest and we’re open to debate,” said Mogherini.** She had reiterated that, while some try to isolate Cuba, the Europeans feel closer to Cubans and won’t leave them alone in the face of U.S. sanctions. Latin American leaders have also restated their support for Cuba. Even the American people condemn their president over the unjust, fickle actions of his administration. American visitors to Cuba tripled in 2017. According to official numbers, 2017 saw 1,172,428 Americans (including Cuban residents of the U.S.) enter Cuba, an increase of 191 percent.
*Editor’s Note: Though accurately translated, this quote could not be sourced.
**Editor’s Note: Though accurately translated, this quote could not be sourced.