Trump Right To Make Cuba Pay For Its Intransigence
June 16, 2017
When President Donald Trump announces his policy on Cuba Friday in Miami, many will be pleased. Others not so much.
Trump will maintain relations with Cuba, first announced by President Obama on Dec. 17, 2014. He apparently will not restore the wet foot, dry-foot policy, rescinded by Obama last year. Smart move. The law was as inequitable as it was a dangerous lure. And the president [will] continue to authorize Cuban Americans to travel to the island.
Trump’s new measures are designed to exert more pressure on Havana to reform itself. In the two and a half years since the Obama administration announced the thaw, which we applauded — and still do — the United States has made most of the concessions, while Cuban president Raúl Castro given very little, especially in the realm of human rights, in return.
Trump is right to recalibrate this policy without jettisoning it wholesale.
In one of the most important changes, transactions with the Business Administration Group, S.A — GAESA — will be prohibited. GAESA is the company of the Cuban Armed Forces that, according to estimates, controls 60 percent of the Cuban economy.
The ban on doing business with GAESA and its subsidiaries should be another blow to the regime’s finances. By blocking transactions with companies linked to the Cuban military, Trump closes a foreign-exchange ticket, and at the same time sends a political message: You cannot do business with the military.
As reported by El Nuevo Herald’s Nora Gámez Torres this week, “Cuban dissidents of various political stripes agree that the United States must make changes to apply pressure to the Raúl Castro regime.”
They are the ones on the front lines, being censored, imprisoned, harassed, beaten. It’s only right that their words resound the loudest in formulating our country’s revised policy.