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Trump Administration Announces More Measures Against Cuba A Few Days Before Leaving the White House

trump-eeuuThe Administration of outgoing President Donald Trump announced on Friday sanctions against the Ministry of the Interior (Minint) of Cuba, one more of the unilateral measures recently adopted against the island.

Without presenting any evidence, the pretext for this action is the alleged responsibility of the minister of that portfolio, General Lázaro Álvarez Casas, in alleged violations of human rights, a pretext that the US Government uses repeatedly to justify its actions against countries that do not they surrender to its dictates.

According to an official statement by the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the measure is adopted in accordance with Executive Order 13818, which implements the Global Accountability on Human Rights, one of the laws that Washington uses to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. .

The text reiterates accusations similar to those outlined in recent years, and indicates that the Minint is designated for being responsible, an accomplice or participating directly or indirectly in alleged abuses against human rights.

Among other justifications for sanctioning Minint, Pompeo’s statement indicates that the Cuban government keeps at least 100 prisoners in prison who, according to that federal agency, are in jail for political reasons.

On repeated occasions the authorities of the Caribbean nation rejected this category, since in reality they are individuals who violated Cuban laws with criminal actions of various kinds.

Finally, the Secretary of State calls on other governments and international organizations to comply with Washington’s demands and support these unilateral sanctions, in addition to those that the White House has maintained against Cuba for more than six decades.

The unjustified and unilateral measure against the Minint adds to the announcement that Pompeo made this week about the reinclusion of Cuba in the list of nations that according to Washington sponsor terrorism, a provision that experts describe as unilateral, spurious and politically motivated.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel called the decision one of “the last blows of a failed and corrupt Administration committed to the Cuban-Miami mafia.”
The New York Times: Trump’s Tireless Effort to Impose Restrictions on Cuba

Trump in 2017, passing restrictions on the ability of Americans to travel and do business with Cuba. Photo: NYT.

When the Donald Trump administration announced this week that it had designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, the reaction in Havana was immediate and energetic.

The Cuban government accused Washington of hypocrisy and described the designation as an act of “political opportunism” by President Trump to obstruct relations between Cuba and the incoming government of President-elect Joe Biden, reports The New York Times in a published article. under the title “Cuba has its sights set on a future without Trump.”

The US newspaper notes that, “however, beyond the outrage, Cubans are ready to move forward , a sentiment stressed by their president, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who tweeted on Tuesday, January 12, that the United States decision it was part of ‘the last blows of a failed and corrupt administration.’

According to The New York Times , Trump’s “uncompromising strategy” has resulted in “a series of restrictions on tourism, visas, remittances, investment and trade, which has worsened an already poor economy. The pandemic has aggravated the problems, in large part by having almost completely paralyzed tourism, one of the main sources of foreign currency.

Amid these difficulties, the newspaper continues, many in Cuba hope that Biden will change US policy in a way that eases economic pressure.

“The president-elect has not commented much in public on his political objectives for Cuba, although during the campaign he attacked Trump’s strategy towards Havana, ” he says.

Similarly, it draws attention to the fact that some of the foreign policy leadership of Biden’s transition team (including Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, and Alejandro Mayorkas, the nominee for secretary of Homeland Security) participated in negotiations with Cuba during the second term of President Barack Obama.

“Biden’s team is not parachuting into this without prior experience,” said Rafael Hernández, political scientist and editor-in-chief of Temas , Cuba’s most important social science magazine. “They can resume the consensus they created during 2015 and 2016.”

“Biden represents the hope that the worst is over,” said Hal Klepak, emeritus professor of history and strategy at the Royal Military College of Canada, who lives in Havana for part of the year. “It represents the possibility of a renewed Obama-style opening. It represents listening to the CIA, the Pentagon and the Department of National Security about the value of Cuba as a friend and collaborator and not as an enemy ”.

After citing these statements, the NYT notes that “the decision to put Cuba back on the list of states accused of sponsoring terrorism – a designation that was last applied for more than three decades, until Obama withdrew it in 2015 – crowned a tireless effort by the Trump administration to impose economic and diplomatic restrictions on the island. ”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others “worked with the goal of repealing anything that could be seen as a benefit to the Government of Cuba,” said Ted A. Henken, associate professor of sociology at Baruch College in New York. York.

Although Trump’s company had been looking to invest in Cuba shortly before he took office, as president he has punished the island with the toughest sanctions in more than half a century. US cruise ships were prohibited from docking in Cuban ports, remittances from the United States were prohibited, and ships carrying oil from Venezuela were prevented from arriving with their cargo.

“The only thing left is diplomatic relations,” Henken said. “We still officially have diplomatic relations with Cuba, despite the fact that in practice they are frozen.”

These efforts by the Trump administration to reverse Obama’s initiatives have slowed the development of the private sector in Cuba and crippled efforts by US companies that had tried to build relationships after the Obama-era détente, Henken said.

The NYT considers that one of Cuba’s demands, if a context of normalization of bilateral relations returns, would be the elimination of the designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

In this regard, he quotes William LeoGrande, professor of Government at the American University in Washington, who states that “the reason this is so sensitive for Cubans is that they have been the object of literally hundreds of terrorist attacks,” most of them which were launched by Cuban exiles based in the United States and trained and organized by the CIA.

So the Cubans, he said, “are very offended at being labeled supporters of terrorists.”

(With information from Prensa Latina and The New York Times )

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