President Trump announced that he plans to roll back the Obama-era Cuba policy on Friday. The implications of his move have largely escaped the public and the media.
Trump Undoes Obama-era Cuba Policy
Obama tried to mend fences with Cuba after decades of adversity as the island lost its authoritarian leader, Fidel Castro. So, the former president thought that lifting the Cold War embargo would prevent additional human suffering on the island located just 90 miles off the Florida coast.
What’s more, Castro’s death could have been a turning point for the country’s cultural legacy and its businesses. Trump, however, has another opinion on how the Cuban policy should look. Citing human rights violations, he cut the cash flow to the Cuban military and placed restrictions on U.S. travelers visiting Cuba.
It is worth noting that Trump doesn’t shy away from striking multi-billion-dollar arms deals with Saudi Arabia despite its poor human rights record. The Saudis still execute their citizens who go out and protest.
Lawmakers Voice Concern
Some congressional lawmakers voiced concern that Trump’s new policy aimed at Cuba could hand the island over to Russia on a silver platter. Even some Republicans opposed the president’s move, especially because they view the limitations on American travel to Cuba as archaic.
Rep. Rick Crawford summed up why going unfriendly with Cuba could enable Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea to gain enormous influence on an island so close the U.S. coast.
In a recent interview with The Hill, Sen. Patrick Leahy described how Russia’s President Vladimir Putin could become very cozy with the island’s leadership. Leahy underlined that the Kremlin is already working towards wooing the communist country. For instance, the Russian government resumed oil shipments to Cuba for the first time in 10 years. Moreover, many Cubans now see Russia as a savior in an energy crisis sparked by the chaos in Venezuela.
Image Source: Wikimedia