President Donald Trump last week began symbolically undoing some parts of his predecessor’s historic opening to Cuba.
The new measures included tighter restrictions on travel and tourism and a prohibition of financial dealings with entities tied to Cuban military and intelligence services. Cuba’s military conglomerate GAESA is estimated to control more than half the country’s economy including much of the travel and tourism industry.
Here are the obvious problems with Trump’s policy towards Cuba:
1 . According to a recent statement by U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC): “The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel.” Yet Senator Rubio, a chief architect of Trump’s Cuba policy, published this:
& headline not https://t.co/BJQeStuAh2 for Cuban people category allows individual travel, but can’t stay at military controlled hotel 3/3
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 17, 2017
2. According to President Trump, “……we know it is best for America to have freedom in our hemisphere, whether in Cuba or Venezuela, and to have a future where the people of each country can live out their own dreams.” Yet just last week U.S. investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs, paid $750 million to the government of Venezuela, one of the most repressive regimes in the Western Hemisphere, in exchange for some heavily discounted bonds.
3. According to President Trump, “Last year, I promised to be a voice against repression in our region — remember, tremendous oppression — and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people.” Yet on a recent trip to Saudia Arabia President Trump said, “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values.” The theocratic absolute monarchy controlled by the yoke of the Saud family carries out mass executions of dissidents, beheads drug dealers, systematically subjugates women and has supported and funded extremist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 attackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
4. Fees paid by cruise lines and airlines will be exempt from restrictions on doing business with the Cuban military. Since a significant portion of the travel and tourism revenue from the U.S. will derive from such fees, President Trump’s new policy appears to be designed only to limit the freedom of U.S. citizens. Cuba is the only country in the world where U.S. citizens are subject to travel restructions. U.S. citizens’ travel to terrorist bastions like N. Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran are not restricted in any way by the U.S. government.