Sunday, June 11, 2017

Trump Won't Be Able to Close the Doors to Cuba

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

In his never-ending quest to obliterate - or at least tarnish - all things Obama, Donald Trump once again has his sights focused on dismantling another part of Barack Obama's formidable legacy.  This time The Donald is stoking fear and hatred in Florida by threatening to roll back Obama's positive moves toward rapprochement with Cuba.

According to various news sources, Trump's plans for mixing things up with Cuba are being drafted this week - by aides - and will then be quickly reviewed by Trump's security team and then given to the former reality star late in the week so that he can announce them in a speech in Miami on Friday.

It sounds like everything is leading up to another weekend of feasting and golf at Mar-a-Lago.

Obama opened diplomatic relations with Cuba two years ago with an exchange of embassies.  He also sponsored moves which charted new channels of trade and travel between the two nations.  The entire Obama family visited the island of Cuba for several days in April of 2016.  Today daily commercial flights are traveling between the two countries, and American cruise lines are also regularly visiting several ports-of-call on the island.

It is unclear how any moves by Trump could successfully sever all of this new contact.

What is also unclear is how any new policies from the Trump administration could erase the growing bonds of good feelings that are developing between the two nations.  Americans - many Americans - have been there, and they know first-hand that that the cold war reality that once characterized the Castro regime no longer blankets the island in political darkness and fear.

As a tourist to Cuba myself, for a week in May of 2016, I was startled by the openness and friendliness of the Cuban people.  There was no overt police or military presence, and in those seven days in Havana and in the countryside, I saw less than ten individuals in any type of uniform.  I walked the streets of downtown Havana alone at night on several occasions free of any concern.  (The complete visit is discussed at length in earlier postings in this blog.)

The tourists are enjoying Cuba, and they are spreading the word about how open and friendly the Cuban people are.  Returning the United States to an adversarial position toward Cuba will be a very hard feat for the Trump administration to accomplish - and it makes no sense from an economic perspective.  Trade has opened between the United States and Cuba that benefits both of the countries.

So why is Trump posing as being so intent on making things worse with Cuba?  First, he is intent of destroying Obama's accomplishments.  That's the way bullies operate - by making themselves look bigger as they tear down others.  But he is also cultivating the Cuban-American vote in Florida, older people who have spent their entire lifetimes demonizing Castro and his socialist state.  In particular, Trump is also playing Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a staunch anti-Castroite.    As the Russia scandal intensifies and Trump's political hole gets bigger and bigger, he is looking to cultivate all of the friends in the Senate that he can.

Trump can play at being the big, mean American bear, but when it comes to Cuba he is likely to find that he is toothless.  American farmers and businessmen by-and-large don't want anyone screwing up their new trade agreements with the island nation, and the travel industry doesn't either.  People are making money off of the new situation, and Trump would be sorely pressed to take any substantive actions which would begin closing those trade doors.

When it comes to Cuba, Marco Rubio will likely have to lump it - and so will Donald John Trump.  The doors to Cuba are open - and they will be damned hard to close.  And that is as it should be.

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