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After saying he was generally supportive of Barack Obama’s Cuba policy during the Republican primaries, by the time of the US election Donald Trump had changed his tune and promised he would roll back the Obama-era opening to the island.
In the next few weeks, the White House is expected to announce its post-Obama Cuba policy. We will see which one of Trump’s views prevails. There is an accepted — though false — wisdom that Trump owes his election victory in Florida to his shift to the hard line. Thanks to this, we fear it is still likely he will turn back the clock on diplomatic relations, jeopardising the US investment and trade that emerged under the Obama-era changes.
From April 2009, Obama began picking away at the US embargo by relaxing restrictions on travel and remittances to the island by Cuban Americans. This culminated in a dramatic announcement in December 2014 that the US and Cuba would restore diplomatic relations after half a century. By the end of Obama’s term, the former Cold-War adversaries were collaborating on everything from environmental protection to port security and antiterrorism. Meanwhile, Cuba’s private sector workforce has more than quadrupled and there are pockets of commerce and investment on the island by the likes of Google, Sheraton Four Points Hotel and Airbnb.
To read more, please visit the Financial Times.