Shortly before the death of Fidel Castro, Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell, former director of the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami, began thinking about what Donald Trump's presidency might mean for Cuba. Here are some of her pre-death of Castro thoughts.
By Susan Kaufman Purcell
The 2016 presidential election makes the future of President Obama’s new policy of engagement with Cuba less secure.
This is because all the big changes were made by executive orders that President-elect Trump can undo, also by executive orders, once he assumes the presidency.
In September 2015, candidate Trump said that the concept of a U.S. opening to Cuba “is fine,” although he added “but I think we should have made a stronger deal.”
During the last months of his presidential campaign, however, Trump hardened his stance toward Cuba in an apparent effort to win the the support of South Florida’s Cuban-American Republicans, which would help him win Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
Specifically, he said that the stronger deal he wanted would include protection of religious and political freedom, the release of political prisoners and the barring of Cuba “from seeking reparations over losses allegedly incurred by the U.S. embargo.”
President Trump will undoubtedly attempt to negotiate a less one-sided deal with Cuba, although not necessarily during his first 100 days, since he believes that President Obama gave everything to the Cuban government while demanding nothing in return.
Since the embargo can only be lifted by Congress and remains in place, it is not necessary for the Republican Congress to play any role unless or until President Trump has achieved the stronger deal that he wants.
In the meantime, U.S. companies trying or planning to invest in Cuba should probably put their plans on hold until they get a better sense of whether President-elect Trump will make good on his campaign promise to negotiate a better deal with the Cuban government after he takes office.Also with Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell:Susan Kaufman Purcell: The New Normal in Latin America
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Dr. Susan Kaufman Purcell is the retired Director of the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami. She was also previously a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff focussed on Latin America, a Vice President of the Council of the Americas, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a tenured professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a BA degree in Spanish and Latin American literature from Barnard College, and MA and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.