Saturday, June 17, 2017

Trump Reversal Of Obama Cuban Policy Mostly Bluster & BS

(Caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

"I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba." 

Those were the words of Donald Trump on Friday. He made it sound like everything President Obama had done regarding Cuba would be reversed. And I've noticed on social media that many people have accepted that as fact. It is NOT true. The truth is that Trump changed very little -- and most of Obama's accomplishments remain in place.

Trump said he would more strictly enforce the Cuban embargo. That was pure BS. That embargo was passed by Congress, and they are the only ones that can change it in any way. All Trump can do is enforce what Congress passed -- just like every president since John Kennedy has done.

Did Trump close our consulate in Havana, and kicked the Cuban officials out of their consulate in the U.S.? NO! Both consulates remain open and doing business just as they were.

Did Trump make it illegal for people to buy Cuban products and bring them back to the U.S.? NO! People can still buy Cuban cigars, rum, and other products -- just like they did under President Obama.

So, what was changed. Trump did ban people from traveling to Cuba purely for tourism. But even that was not a complete ban. There are 12 exceptions to the Cuban travel ban, and anyone who really wants to go there can surely find a way to fit in one of those exceptions. The exceptions are:

  • * Educational activities in Cuba for schools, including people-to-people exchanges open to everyone
  • * Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba
  • * Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions in Cuba
  • * Religious activities in Cuba
  • * Humanitarian projects in Cuba
  • * Journalistic activities in Cuba
  • * Family visits to close relatives in Cuba
  • * Activities in Cuba by private foundations, or research or educational institutes
  • * Support for the Cuban people
  • * Exportation, importation, or transmission of information technologies or materials
  • * Certain authorized export transactions including agricultural and medical products, and tools, equipment and construction supplies for private use
  • * Official business of the US government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • He did ban Americans from spending money in Cuba that would go to support the Cuban military. Those coming back from Cuba will be subject to an audit on where they spent money while there. We'll have to see how this is enforced to know whether it will pose an onerous burden on travel to Cuba. How are people to know when they spend money there that that money will eventually wind up with the Cuban military? And what will be the penalties if they knowingly spent such money?
  • Trump tried to act like he was doing big things to reverse Obama's Cuban policies. That was just bluster and BS. He actually did very little.
  • Marco Rubio should be feeling very foolish today. He sold out to Trump and defended him in the Senate hearings because Trump had promised him the reversal of Obama's Cuban policies. Now it looks like Rubio's purchase price was very cheap.
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