Donald Trump slows down the reconciliation with Cuba

The reconciliation between the United States and Cuba, which began during the two terms of Barack Obama, has the lead in the wing with the will of Donald Trump to reconsider the u.s. position. During a speech in Miami, Florida, he had, according to a u.s. official, announcing the prohibition of transactions with entities controlled by the army of cuba, everywhere in the tourism sector, and stricter enforcement of restrictions on travel to the island communist. Away from his campaign promises where he promised to erase the stroke of a pen the initiatives of his democratic predecessor, Donald Trump had to opt for the adjustments are limited : the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two ex-enemy countries, is not questioned. But the new tenant of the White House, anxious to send signals to a base anticastriste which has brought him support in Florida, on his election, meant to mark its difference.

It is difficult to measure a priori the exact impact of travel restrictions on the cuban tourist sector in full boom. Nearly 300,000 Americans visited the island during the first five months of 2017, a jump of 145 % year on year. In 2016, Cuba had hosted 284 937 visitors to the United States, 74 % more than in 2015. On the economic plan, Donald Trump was to announce the prohibition of any financial transactions with the powerful Group of business administration (Gaesa, the holding company of State-controlled armed forces) or its subsidiaries. Commercial flights and cruises to Cuba should not, however, be affected by this announcement.

Mark the break with Obama

The very sensitive sector of tourism, contacts with foreigners and strong direct revenues in foreign currencies, is one of the areas of predilection of the army, which handles airlines, hotels, restaurants, marinas, car rental agencies and department stores. The two conglomerates tourist Gaviota and Cubanacan are part of the Gaesa, the executive chairman, colonel Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, is the son-in-law of cuban president Raul Castro. Even before the presidential announcement, the hotel chain Starwood, which opened a year ago, a Sheraton hotel in Cuba, was mounted first in line to warn of a return back. The group ensures the management of the Four Points, the establishment of nearly 200 rooms located in the west of Havana, and belonging to the group Gaviota. “We call on the administration to Trump to use tourism as a strategic tool in its efforts to improve relations with Cuba […] rather than return to the policies of the past “, has launched Arne Sorenson, president of Marriott International.

According to an official from the White House, the goal of the next steps is to take its distances with the policy of the Obama administration ” that enriched the military and the intelligence services that play a central role in the oppression on the island.” The administration Trump highlights the need for an adjustment in the name of defending human rights. In unison, the NGOS have, however, denounced in advance any 180-degree turn. Amnesty International has warned against the adverse consequences for the Cuban people for a return ” to the rhetoric of the cold war and in isolation.”

The risk of ” pushing Cuba to China and Russia “

During his speech, Donald Trump should also affirm the opposition of the United States, in the absence of policy changes are substantial, the lifting of the embargo that hit the island communist. At the end of 2016, the United States had for the first time abstained in the adoption of a resolution of the general Assembly of the united Nations calling for an end to the us embargo imposed on Cuba since 1962. The text had been adopted by 191 votes, and two abstentions (United States and Israel) on the 193 members of the Assembly. Under applause, the us ambassador of the time, Samantha Power argued that the “new approach” to The Havana of the Obama administration.

The lifting of the embargo is the responsibility of the Congress of the United States, of which the two chambers are controlled by republicans. Ben Rhodes, former adviser to Barack Obama who played a central role in the outstretched hand in Havana, has strongly criticized Thursday evening the approach of the new administration. “All the limitations imposed on travel, especially for the small entrepreneurs, cuban, restaurants, shops, taxis, which depend on tourism for a living,” he pointed out on Twitter, raising the risk by braking the opening, to ” push Cuba to China and Russia.” More directly, the organization Engages in Cuba deplored the fact that the 45th president of the United States has chosen not to listen to ” the majority of his republican base, the majority of Americans and virtually all of the Cubans living in their country “.

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