Policy tightening towards Cuba

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We are going to empower the Cuban people and make accountable their regime,” Trump wrote on Twitter, just hours before giving a speech in Little Havana, the neighbourhood where the Cuban exile is concentrated. During the Presidential race, Trump has altered course on Cuba. Last year, during the primary campaign, Trump said that he supportedgovernment efforts to restore relations with the island. Then, at a Miami rally two weeks ago, Trump claimed that Obama should have secured better terms in negotiations with Cuba, and that “unless the Castro regime meets our demands,” he would reverse Obama’s executive orders.

A year and three months after Obama’s visit to Cuba, Trump has visited Miami, the capital of the Cuban diaspora, to reiterate to an exile sector that he will satisfy the campaign promise which he made to the Bay of Pigs war’ veterans, who risked their lives in an incursion to the island in 1961, encouraged and funded by the Government of John F. Kennedy. The president announced in Miami a policy’ tightening towards the island, dismantling a part of the legacy of his predecessor: “Now that I am President I will expose the crimes of the Castro’s, because for the United States a continent is better where there is freedom, in Cuba, in Venezuela, so that people can live their dreams.” The president said that one of his functions is changing the bad treaties, and recalled that of Iran, and that of Cuba: ” The previous government has alleviated the restrictions of travel and commerce and that does not help the Cuban people, it only enriches the Castro regime. We will not remain silent in the face of communist oppression.

 However, the ‘backward’ is just partial, not as the hardest Cuban exile would have liked. The president, despite his anti-Castro speech, keeps up with many of the Obama’s policies toward Cuba. The Obama-era decrees marked a significant difference about the US Companies provision of services increase in Cuba: telecommunications, internet, hotels. Companies like Airbnb announced their new presence on the island. Also, it is particularly visible in these two and a half years the presence of the big airlines and US cruise ships, which started arriving in Cuba in 2016. Trump, who seems to follow the directives of Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, two of the most influential politicians in the Cuban-American community, says what successive administrations of one sign or another have promised in Miami: that sooner rather than later Cuba will be free; That the objective is to promote the autonomy of civil society and to undermine the dictatorship; And that it is urgent to denounce the violation of human rights in Cuba. Nothing new.

On the island side, Raul Castro’s government responded in a message issued in all the Cuban media, “Any strategy aimed to change the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it is to achieve it through pressures or using more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure. The necessary changes in Cuba such as those now underway, are part of the island’s economic and socialist model’ update, which the Cuban people will continue to decide sovereignly.” Cuba has also protested yesterday over the US president shamelessness, as last Friday he surrounded himself with terrorists in Miami, when announcing the tightening of his country’s policy toward the island, in a ‘such a grotesque spectacle coming out of the Cold War.’

But any exile is monolithic and the Cuban is not an exception. After 59 years of exile, today more than ever, Cuban-Americans are divided about which is the best way to drive a transition. According to a Florida International University’ survey published in 2016, 63%, in Miami Dade County were against the embargo, and 57% supported the expanding trade relations with Cuba. And a new poll released yesterday by ‘Engage Cuba Coalition’ dismantle the stereotype that of Republicans are opposed to Obama’s policies in relation to the island. In fact, most of the Republican voters want to keep them. But the scope of the new measures is not clear, partly because of the lack of transparency of the Cuban economy. Some experts have criticized the tightening of US policy towards Cuba as a counterproductive one. For Jason Marczack, an expert at the Think Tank Atlantic Council, stated that “the Cuban system has already demonstrated its resistance to US attempts to isolate itself over the past five decades.”

 There will be no change until the Cubans on the island take some action. At least as the Venezuelan people are doing. Nothing which outsiders might decide as Trump now, or Obama before, is going to have a real impact on the Cuban people ‘lives. What does it take for the people of Cuba to wake up, have faith in themselves, and be able to reverse their history? What needs to happen in Cuba for Cubans to show their identity, their self-esteem and take off all their strength forces to make their way to the future? What is needed to say among them, those ordinary Cubans, from all ages and from all parts of the island to rise from the long lethargy in which they are submerged, asleep, hypnotized, paralyzed, and put their proven wit and muscle to work?

Fifty-eight years are gone and the result is apathy, languishment and disinterest over a better life. A decrepit country, people abandoned to their fate, without encouragement, without the will to fight, without goals, encouragement, without blood, dignity and desire. Eleven million of Cubans would wish to leave the island, flee to other lands where they could achieve a more human, more dignified, more possible life. Run away. Go far from the impossible. Sad reality. Cuba, an island which does not produce, full of people who do not work and do not participate. A miserable entelechy product of an abject revolution dedicated to demolishing everything assembled before. The Cuban people must react and fight against the regime that has stolen everything, even their dignity!

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