Biden Eases Some Restrictions But Florida Politics Prevents Normalizing Relations With Cuba



The Biden administration has announced measures to undo former President Donald Trump's “maximum pressure” campaign against the Cuban government. Under an order issued Wednesday by the U.S. Transportation Department, US airlines will again be allowed to fly to Cuban destinations beyond Havana, opening up more options for American visitors. The White House also lifted a cap on family remittances and American groups will be permitted to visit on educational trips. U.S. officials said they were “expanding support for the Cuban people” at a time of desperate shortages and surging migration from the island.


The 60-plus-year-old Cuba trade embargo is the world's longest and, perhaps, most pointless. Few can even remember why President Dwight D. Eisenhower imposed the first trade embargo on Cuba in 1960 or why President John Kennedy expanded it in 1962. And if it ever had any value, it disappeared with the end of the Cold War decades ago. Today, it remains in place to pacify South Florida's large and politically powerful Cuban exile community that continues to argue that sometime soon the pain it inflicts on the Cuban people will cause an uprising to overthrow the Communist government.


The Nation: ... "Since its inception, the trade embargo has become, as the Bay of Pigs invasion was once called, “a perfect failure” in all ethical, political and economic respects. It hurts the Cuban people but has failed to shake the government.

Still, the “wreak havoc” crowd [in Congress], financed by Miami’s hard-line exile community, has managed to keep opposition to the embargo at bay. The logic of their position—to squeeze Cuba until it implodes into civil war"...

—Editorial, “Freeing Cuba,” Jan. 26, 1998


The United Nations has voted 29 times to demand that the United States end the illegal economic blockade on Cuba, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.


Finally, in 2014, former President Obama took steps to normalize relations with Cuba and eased restrictions on remittances, travel, and banking, but Congress never acted to end the embargo. And then former President Trump reversed many of Obama's measures saying he was fighting “Communist oppression” in Cuba. Instead, Trump's restrictions crushed Cuba's new small business sector which had taken root after Obama eased travel regulations. It also reinforced the distrust that many Cubans have regarding America's intentions.


The Cuban people will welcome Joe Biden's announcement, but they must wonder what will happen if a Republican again captures the White House in 2024. Because Florida is a must-win state for any Republican presidential candidate, they will promise to restore all restrictions if elected.


#Cuba #politics #Internationalrelations

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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