President Donald Trump’s announcement of a rollback of several Obama-era reforms on US-Cuba policy is a step in the wrong direction. During his electoral campaign, the president promised a “better deal” for Cuba. However, neither the majority of Cuban Americans, nor, the Cubans find anything good in going back in time to measures and restrictions from the Cold War era that will ultimately hurt Cuban families. If the purpose is to strengthen democracy and promote human rights on the island, the new policy will be far from being able to achieve it.
Outlawing business transactions that involve the Cuban military --which is deeply intertwined with the economic sector--, will hurt Cuban civilians. Thinking that the only one affected by this policy is the Cuban government is, if anything, an illusion. Further, by taking part in this surreal charade created by a perverse and insignificant number of Cuban Americans in Congress, President Trump aligns himself with a shameful history of political interference of the U.S. in Cuba’s sovereignty.
Implementing greater restrictions on traveling of Americans to Cuba will negatively impact the empowerment of the private sector on the island. It will also continue to violate free movement of Americans by dictating to them when, how and with whom they can book a flight to the neighbor island, at a moment when 81% of Americans, including 71% of Republicans support lifting all restrictions on travel to Cuba.
We are sure that the ill-conceived agenda of changing Cuba policy had many more items for Mr. Trump to consider. It is definitively a victory for the Cuban and Cuban American people and the U.S. and Cuba governments that there will continue to be an embassy in both countries, that travels will remain, and that Cuba will never again be unfairly included in a list of state-sponsor of terrorism countries.
We urge president Trump to listen to the voices that represent the real interest of the Cuban people. They, and not a clique of Americans of Cuban descent that have never been in Cuba and therefore, have little love for—let alone, knowledge of the people of Cuba, are the ones who can provide you with a more accurate report of Cuba.
To the Cuban American politicians that orchestrated this shameful act of betrayal, we have a piece of advice: do not consider for a minute to set foot in Cuban soil in the near future. Absolutely nobody there will forgive you for playing the Star-Spangled Banner at your little rally for an allegedly “free Cuba”, without even one mention to the Cuban National Anthem.