Russia says Trump is using 'Cold War rhetoric' on Cuba

Jay Jacobs
June 24, 2017

Cuba has criticised the American administration's decision to "backtrack on policy changes": http://www.euronews.com/2017/06/16/trump-rolls-back-on-obamas-closer-relations-with-cuba negotiated by former US President Barack Obama. But reiterated their willingness to continue a "respectful and cooperative dialogue".

It went on to list a litany of concerns: racial discrimination, salary inequality between genders, the marginalization of immigrants and refugees from Islamic and other countries, Trump's proposed wall on the southern border, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, the imprisonment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, the killing of United States and foreign citizens in drone attacks, the preface for and conduct of the wars in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, and estimates that the Republican health care bill would cause 23 million people to lose medical insurance.

By canceling Obama's Cuba deal, the Post reported, Trump could "neutralize a chief rival's ability to gain an early advantage". U.S. airlines and cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island.

"A Cuban small businessman should not be obliged to buy from the only wholesaler that exists now, which is the state", he said.

The migration agreements established on 12 January, which repealed the "dry feet / wet feet" regulations and the special visa program for Cuban doctors working in third countries and who abandon their jobs, remain in force.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically supportive of GOP presidents, predicted the changes would limit prospects for "positive change on the island", while Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Trump's policy was "misguided" and will hurt the U.S. economically.

Trump's new policy will eliminate such self-certified visits by individuals while still allowing them to be done as group tours, and also retaining some individual travel under other authorized categories such as religious, artistic and journalistic activities, officials said. In the weeks after his election victory, Trump forcefully hinted at his plans for Cuba.

"Any strategy to change the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether through pressure... or through more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure", Raul Castro's government said.

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"America has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors", Trump said in Miami's Little Havana. The Americans have helped the economy somewhat but it isn't everything because we get tourists from many countries, not just the U.S., "Omara Mata, Owner of Casa Victor Restaurant said. Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law", he told a cheering crowd in Miami's Little Havana, the spiritual home of the Cuban- American community.

Cuba functioned as a virtual US colony for much of the 20th century, and even reform-minded Cubans are highly sensitive to perceived USA infringements on national sovereignty.

Many are on the GOP side and are heavily critical of the previous administration for not doing more to insist on the return of Chesimard and other fugitives hiding out in Cuba.

A statement on Cuban national television said: "The Cuban government denounces the new measures which prolong the blockade". "As someone who had the privilege of traveling to Cuba with President Obama, I saw firsthand how the country has a desire for openness and information".

But the changes would ultimately meet four objectives, according to the White House: Ensure compliance with USA law, hold the Cuban government accountable for alleged human rights abuses, further the interests of the US and the Cuban people, and "empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty".

Last month Russian Federation resumed oil shipments to Cuba for the first time in more than a decade.

The Obama administration had restored diplomatic relations with its Cold War foe in December 2014.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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