When it comes to the issue of Cuba Donald Trump broke with the rest of the 2016 Republican presidential field. The terms of the deal are not, in themselves, revolutionary. The embargo is still in place, and so is the travel ban, meaning US tourism to Cuba is still restricted, though those restrictions have been falling away rapidly since the deal was first announced. Last night at the GOP debate in hostile Miami Trump was the only candidate to say that he thinks 50 years of isolation between the two countries is enough. But he’s wary of how Obama went about reopening diplomatic relations with the country. Trump said he’d “probably” close the U.S. embassy in Havana for a while. But he wouldn’t cut off relations with Cuba or reverse the deal he would as you might try to make a better deal. In Miami Florida Sen. Marco Rubio scored points with the crowd along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by saying they were firmly against the Cuba deal. “So I don’t agree with President Obama, I do agree something should be — should take place,” Trump said. “After 50 years, it’s enough time, folks. But we have to make a good deal and we have to get rid of all the litigation that’s going to happen. “What I want is I want a much better deal to be made, because right now Cuba is making — as usual with our country, we don’t make good deal. We don’t have our right people negotiating; we have people that don’t have a clue.” What Trump, the businessman understands that his political opponents don’t get is that the American people, most of the top business leaders, including a number of conservative Republicans, see is a chance to change the culture in Cuba.
President Barrack Obama will be visiting Havana later this month and numerous polls taken since the administration announced the deal with Cuba have shown massive support for the normalization between the two countries.
56 percent of Americans across the country would like to see a softening in U.S. dealings with Cuba, which increases to 62 percent among Latinos.
Florida, which is home to the country’s largest Cuban-American population, leads the nation with 63 percent supporting normalized relations with Cuba, even though many Cuban families settled in the Sunshine State after fleeing former President Fidel Castro’s dictatorship.
As we have reported many times the Tampa Bay area is competing with regions from Texas to New York as both business and travel companies are working overtime to gain a foothold in Cuba. This really is no longer a Democrat and Republican issue because there is bi-partisan support for the deal with of course the opposition coming from the Miami based anti – Castro lobby that is strongly against the deal.
The new deal is a way for the US and Cuba to announce that they are done being enemies. The official diplomatic term for this is “normalize relations,” which basically means to become friends. That is the most important part of the deal and the one that the US hopes will eventually change the wat Cuba is governed.
By opening up Cuba’s economy to outside investment and tourism will help liberalize the country more broadly, as the flow of ideas, money, and people helps along preexisting Cuban desires for greater freedoms and rights. That’s also why one of the American conditions for the recent deal is that Cuba will allow wider internet access, thus encouraging the growth of a grassroots political culture. The hope is that in time it will allow a more receptive government to replace the Castro family who controls the island.
It remains to be seen if that will happen but for now it looks like the wheels of commerce are spinning in the direction of Cuba.