Donald Trump’s Cuba restrictions are a step back for America

Amna Mirza
Amna MirzaJun 18, 2017 | 18:39

Donald Trump’s Cuba restrictions are a step back for America

US president Donald Trump’s new restrictions on trade and travel in Cuba overhaul his predecessor Barack Obama's Cuba policy.

The clarion call to reject the “Cuban people's oppressors” at Miami's Little Havana showed irrational politics which does not keep pace with contemporary realities.

The goal is to stop the flow of US cash to the country's military and security services. This is a lethal blow on Cuba's government in a bid to suppress oppression and promote human rights.


Those who ignore the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat it. Clampdown on trade and travel, if history has a lesson to teach, has never done any good.

Learning from the 1959 phase, a small nation like Cuba, has seen its society commit to renew its economic and social apparatus. Sadly, the US has imprisoned ties in the past, with no efforts to learn from the bygone.

Attempts to conduct diplomacy as per the failed outlook of the Cold War, disregarding its own dismal human right records in Guantanamo Bay, fails to augur well in a world which has challenged traditional notions of power and security.

If the reversal towards Cuba is based on acting tough against the oppressor, then will the US act to put an embargo on Kazakhstan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia also?

What the earlier Cuban ban did was to justify suppression of dissent on its soil. Its people saw the US using its economic and geographical might as an enemy of humanity. This forcible evangelising or capitalist pursuit for economic expansion and harassment against national limits only left one resolve for Cuba - use socialism to crumble imperialism.


People-to-people contacts generated new ideas. By cutting off flights, Trump will not be able to derail this progress and has rather taken American foreign affairs a step backward. The Texas aviation industry and Republican agrarian states shall be the most affected. All it will lead to is Cuba having less dependence from American revenue.

Cuba is itself going through a leadership change. If the US was sincere in its fight for rights and democracy, it should have enabled things that support change. It is evident that Trump’s instinct for isolation is growing each day.

Post-Castro, Cuba is ready to embrace new change and not let past atrocities define them. Trump is the first US president of the post-Castro era, but sadly, instead of fostering new partnerships, he has squandered this historic moment.

Trump is overturning his predecessor Obama's policies.

This also comes as part of his initiative to restore American glory by upholding segregation as a norm, as is seen in snapping of ties with NAFTA and pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

The Vietnam War displayed the spirit of ordinary people against military might; in this present scenario all are wondering whether the US will be able to dampen the spirit of the Cubans who have firmly resolved to overcome this blockade. China and Russia may rather fill in this vacuum in the context of the emerging hostility towards Cuba.


Jobs, safe borders and fight against terrorism are the planks that got Trump the top job, and Cuba too wants that now. Obama’s efforts for normalisation of ties may not have done enough good but will sanctions alone be good for those in exile and dissidents?

By reducing trust between people and institutions, more confrontations and eroding prospects of exchange - Trump seems to have placed the present at a striking similarity with 1930s’ deglobalisation. Hegemonic states scrap commitments at will and also pay the price for blinkered isolationist perspective. Germany did that during the Second World War, now the US too seems to be doing the same.

Last updated: June 18, 2017 | 18:39
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