Trump says Cuba has to act or he'll end the diplomatic thaw, but it's
not that simple
In his latest comment on Cuba since the death of revolutionary leader
Fidel Castro, President-elect Donald Trump said Monday he would end
Washington's diplomatic thaw with the island unless Cuba makes "a better
"If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the
Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,"
President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro renewed diplomatic ties
in 2014 after a half-century of Cold War hostility. Since then, through
a series of executive orders, Obama has eased restrictions on Americans
traveling to Cuba and U.S. firms doing business there.
Castro, at the same time, has made it easier for Cubans to travel and to
engage in limited private enterprise.
However, Castro has not enacted significant political reforms, and the
death Friday of his brother, former president and leader of the
revolution Fidel, at age 90, is not likely to usher in quick change.
It was not clear what Trump meant by a "better deal." An email seeking
clarification from his transition team was not answered.
Previously, however, Trump has spoken of the release of political
prisoners and more open space for free expression of opinions and
dissent. These are the same elements the Obama administration has been
demanding, while choosing not to delay economic progress while awaiting
From a legal standpoint, Trump could easily reverse Obama's executive
orders with little more than a signature. Politically, however, renewed
estrangement would be more complicated and would isolate the U.S. as the
only country in the world that does not recognize the Communist-led
government in Havana.
Trump and his top aides have sent conflicting signals over his likely
On Saturday, his staff put out a statement saying a Trump administration
would "do all it can" to help Cubans achieve prosperity and liberty. But
it did not mention reversing Obama's actions expanding ties.
"While Cuba remains a totalitarian island," Trump said, "it is my hope
that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and
toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the
freedom they so richly deserve."
Kellyanne Conway, a top advisor, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday
that "nothing is definite" when it comes to Cuba. But Trump's soon-to-be
White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said that Trump would be
looking for "some movement in the right direction" to keep the Cuba
opening on course.
Conservative Republicans, like Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, oppose
detente with Cuba as long as any Castro continues to rule. But a growing
number of Cuban Americans, as well as most Democrats and a substantial
segment of the business community, want better ties and opportunities
for economic exchange.
Source: Trump says Cuba has to act or he'll end the diplomatic thaw, but
it's not that simple - LA Times -