|The New Era's end signals |
a return to a belligerent northern neighbour
Every president since Kennedy in 1963 has aimed to overthrow the Cuban revolution.
Obama’s shift in relations was a step forward but still had the open aim of fostering dissent within Cuba while keeping the blockade in place and Guantanamo occupied.
Trump’s June 16 speech signalled a ban on U.S citizens patronising Cuba’s state-owned hotels, restaurants and tour buses because the GAESA conglomerate that runs them has links to Cuba’s armed forces and Ministry of the Interior.
Trump also vowed that the U.S. government will police other trips to ensure travellers are pursuing a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.” Only travel with an organised group will be allowed and the purpose of the trip will be more strictly policed. Trump also vowed to review all government programmes directed against Cuba, to supposedly ensure their effectiveness.
Once implemented, Trump’s policy is expected to create a maze of rules for American tourists to obey. At least 140,000 U.S citizens visit Cuba each year out of around 4 million tourists.
The roll-back is only partial. Diplomatic relations will remain in place and commercial air and sea links will be exempted from the new restrictions. Cuban-Americans will still be able visit and send remittances back to their families.
Cuba’s Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Relations of Cuba, condemned Trump’s measures, which were announced and signed off in a theatre named after Manuel Artime, civilian leader of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
“It was a grotesque Cold War-era spectacle, made before a small audience, composed of old henchmen and thieves of the Batista dictatorship, mercenaries from the Playa Girón brigade, terrorists, demagogues and ‘lackeys’", he said.
President Trump greeted several of these individuals by name, and was surrounded or accompanied by others at the time of the signing. These included a terrorist arrested in 1995 in California, with an arsenal of weapons to be used to commit violent actions and who was implicated in an assassination attempt on President Fidel Castro in 1997. Another was part of a 1974 armed infiltration in Cuba; a third was the author of terrorist actions and pirate attacks at sea on Cuban fishing boats, between 1972 and 1975.
Also present was the spouse of a sergeant who committed acts of torture during the Batista dictatorship, and one of those responsible for financing the planting of bombs at tourist locations in Cuba which exploded in 1997, as revealed by infamous terrorist Posada Carriles in an interview with the New York Times. Posada Carriles was the author of the mid-flight bombing of a Cubana de Aviación civilian aircraft in1976, the first terrorist act against an aircraft in flight.
Trump was open at the event about rewarding congressmen Rubio and Diaz-Balart, who helped him narrowly win in South Florida.
“The struggle continues, the victory is certain!”
Bruno Rodriguez also pointed to Trump’s hypocrisy for calling on Cuba to improve human rights, saying the U.S. government “is threatening more limits on health care that would leave 23 million people without insurance ... and marginalises immigrants and refugees, particularly those from Islamic countries.”
Trump cited human rights concerns as his primary driver in tightening restrictions on Cuba, but the president has prided himself on his warm relations with some of the world's most autocratic regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt and human rights violators like Phillippines president Rodrigo Duterte.
Polls show that over 70 percent of Americans—including a majority of Republicans—support lifting the embargo and that 97 percent of the Cuban people support normalisation with the United States.