While Trump has said he wants to negotiate a better deal with Cuba, it is unclear how much he is willing to reverse President Obama’s measures.
Representative Rick Crawford, an Arkansas Republican, said he didn’t necessarily think there would be, “a knee-jerk reaction,” to what Obama had done. “I think it’s time to take off the Cold War lenses and think about how we can proactively and productively engage in Cuba.”
The Miami Herald is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump recently looked into establishing hotels in Cuba, according to the head of a major Spanish hotel chain.
Miguel Fluxà, chief executive of the Iberostar Group, said at a public event Thursday that Trump’s interest in Cuba existed “no more than six months ago.”
“Trump until recently has tried to negotiate for hotels he wanted to have in Cuba,” Fluxà said at a 60-year anniversary event for Iberostar in Mallorca, according to the Spanish newspaper ABC.
“He could break diplomatic relations on his first day in office,” said William LeoGrande, professor of government at American University and co-author of “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana.”
It most likely would take longer, perhaps months, to roll back changes in trade with and travel to Cuba, because the Treasury and Commerce departments would have to rewrite complex regulations.
“President Trump would be less inclined to make a deal if he got a tremendous push back from Capitol Hill, especially in the House of Representatives,” said Raymond Tanter, who served on the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan and now heads the American Committee on Human Rights. “I would say that there’s a strong likelihood that the legacy of Obama will be very difficult to overturn.”
“The politics of it are very complicated,” said LeoGrande. “The legalities of it are pretty straight forward in terms of what the president has the legal authority to do.”
On the Cuban side, “They did not anticipate a President-elect Trump,” Jorge Mas Santos, president of the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, told the Miami Herald.
Rep. Tom Emmer, R.-Minn., a string advocate of both the incoming president and trade with Cuba, said he believes that while Trump talks tough, he won’t let the opportunity slip through U.S. hands. “I see this more as positioning,” said Emmer, who has been in touch with Trump’s people on the issue. “He is concerned about resolution of the land dispute,” Emmer said. “He wants to make sure Cuban patriots are heard. But the question is … what does the U.S./Cuban relationship look like for the next 50 years? It’s imperative that Republicans get on the right side of this. Healthy relationships form the basis of economic and national security, and I think Cuba is going to be part of that picture.”