MIAMI – After nearly half a century of hostility between the United States and Cuba, there began a thawing of diplomatic tensions in late 2014. Then-President Barack Obama achieved communication with Cuban leaders and sought to improve relations between Cuba and the United States. Outcomes of these meetings include embassies in each other’s capitals and facilitating trade and travel. Today in Miami’s Little Havana, Donald Trump called the deal made between Obama and the Cuban regime “one-sided” and has announced he will “cancel” it, claiming that the easing of restrictions “enrich the Cuban regime.”
Although the Cuban military owns much of the economy, the hope was that by fueling commercial activity and particularly the tourism sector, individual Cubans would be able to reap the benefits from the flow of money into the country. Parts of Obama’s policy on Cuba will remain, as the embassies established will stay and there will be no new restrictions on goods that can be taken out of Cuba. The embargo remains in place.
There is a need for the Cuban regime to fully respect and embrace human rights. The United States will continue to push Cuba to adopt democracy, but isolating the country has not worked in the past. Reversing the progress made in relations between the two countries might damage chances for cooperation, negotiation, and modernization in Cuba.