Domingo, 19 de Noviembre de 2017
23:42 CET.
CUBA-US RELATIONS

Trump’s Fault?

Donald Trump's announcement of an alteration of his country's policies towards Cuba caused a great stir. Despite its limited scope - in terms of affecting Obama's legacy and the foreseeable impact of the measures - adversaries and officials in Havana were quick to applaud or condemn Trump's move. For some it represents a firm stance in the face of the enduring communist dictatorship, while for others it constitutes an imperialist aggression against national sovereignty.

However, it would be worth taking a good look at the Cuban government's recent decisions and actions in order to more fairly assess Washington's degree of responsibility for internal dynamics on the Island. Despite the scant confidence in Cuba's national sovereignty that this perception denotes, an impression shared by both pro-government figures and members of the opposition alike, the truth is that the facts speak for themselves.

Let us look at the socio-economic sphere. Is the Treasury Department responsible for failing to achieve the promised monetary unification and appreciation of the peso, the cause of the famous economic recession of 2016? Is the Federal Reserve to blame for the credit and tax policies stifling the potential of Cuban entrepreneurs? Is the US National Park Service responsible for Cuba's ineffective measures and their failure to reverse environmental degradation? Are Betsy DeVos and Tom Price to be held directly responsible for the deficient coverage and low quality of the island's education and health systems?

Let us look at the political arena. Are Homeland Security agents responsible for the regime's repressive strategy that has imposed severe prison stays (and not just brief detentions, as some Cubans claim) on more than 150 opposition activists, including a large number of poor, black peasant women? Was it the FBI that recently expelled faculty and students from Cuban universities (including several socialists) because they were critical of the government? Is the US Attorney General providing counsel, in silence and without taking into account citizens' demands and proposals, for the elite's clandestine revision of the Cuban Constitution and Electoral Law? Is the CIA, in a display of its expertise in subversion and coups, supporting Nicolás Maduro's current assault upon the Bolivarian Constitution and democracy? Is it the Pentagon and the NSA that are strengthening ties between the FAR and the North Korean army (including the sale of UN-prohibited weapons) and between the MININT and Russian intelligence services?

The above are just some of the actions and results of the Cuban government in recent years in response to Obama's less restrictive policies. They indicate that Trump's measures are not responsible for the course chosen by Havana. The regime's tightening of control, vis-a-vis the opening up is, as a sociologist would say, an independent variable. The recent crackdown has more to do with the fundamental makeup of the Cuban regime than a set of sanctions that can be summarized with a popular saying: much ado about nothing.


This article originally appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Razón. It is published here with the author's permission.

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