Cuba rejects new U.S. policy, saying pressure will not work

Cuba Barack Obama Donald Trump Havana Caribbean Moscow Washington U. S. Russian Foreign Ministry
Russia criticises US for 'anti-Cuban' approach says it sides with Cuba

20 June, 2017

Candidate Trump declared, "All the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them". The Obama administration, as part of its rapprochement with the government of Raul Castro, created more categories of "general" licenses under which people could "self-certify", essentially by checking off a box at their airport departure gate.

And in symbolism that will not be lost in Havana, his crowd included veterans of the ill-fated Brigade 2506, which in 1961 launched the failed USA -backed Bay of Pigs invasion.

While applauding USDA's efforts to "reduce the burden on regulated entities", ASA expressed concern that aspects of the rule as proposed will increase the regulatory burden and stifle research and innovation.

In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna that Trump's restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government. Some 54 percent of Cuban Americans in Miami want to end the Cuban embargo. Rather, the threat of these sanctions between connected economies is more likely to drive changes in government behavior.

"America has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors", Trump said in a crowded, sweltering auditorium.

Despite Trump's campaign pledge to improve relations with Moscow, there has been no significant improvement in foreign policy cooperation between the two countries.

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Still, it will be the latest attempt by Trump to overturn parts of Obama's presidential legacy. Many pundits suggested that one of the driving forces for the Obama's change in U.S. Jeff Flake, who recently helped reintroduce the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act.

To raucous applause, Trump delineated his new policies, including a prohibition on American financial engagement with firms tied to the Cuban military conglomerate GAESA, and tighter rules for Americans traveling to the Caribbean island. It is a country with friendly people, many of whom have ties to friends or family in the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in Havana in December 2000.

Meanwhile, U.S. travelers would still be allowed to bring home rum and cigars from Cuba for personal consumption. The nostalgia was so strong at Trump's Friday speech that he even announced participants in the CIA's disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in the audience! "We were very concerned about any potential changes, given how popular Cuba itineraries have proven to be with our guests, and we view this as a win for the cruise industry, our valued guests and travel partners".

Trump's speech at the Manuel Artime Theater, named for a Cuban exile who worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency in anti-Castro plots including the Bay of Pigs invasion, was an event deliberately calculated to appeal to the extremely right-wing layer of Cuban-American exiles.

Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, either through pressures and impositions or by using more subtle methods, shall be doomed to failure. These results may explain why Donald Trump lost Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas. As Amnesty International cited in a 2009 report on the effects of the embargo on Cuba, it is "the most comprehensive set of U.S. sanctions on any country, including the other countries designated by the USA government to be state sponsors of terrorism".

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