Trump’s new po­si­tion pro­vokes anx­i­ety

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump ap­plauds as he is in­tro­duced by box­ing pro­moter Don King prior to speak­ing at the Pas­tors Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence at New Spirit Re­vival Cen­ter yes­ter­day in Cleve­land, Ohio. HA­VANA (AP): ONALD TRUMP’S threat to undo Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s dé­tente with Cuba un­less Pres­i­dent Raúl Cas­tro abides by Trump’s list of de­mands is pro­vok­ing wide­spread anx­i­ety among or­di­nary Cubans, who were pay­ing lit­tle at­ten­tion to the United States (US) pres­i­den­tial cam­paign un­til now.

Trump had been gen­er­ally sup­port­ive of Obama’s reestab­lish­ment of diplo­matic ties and nor­mal­i­sa­tion of re­la­tions, say­ing he thought dé­tente was “fine” although he would have cut a bet­ter deal.

Then, in Mi­ami on Fri­day, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee said he would re­verse Obama’s se­ries of ex­ec­u­tive or­ders un­less Cas­tro meets de­mands in­clud­ing “re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal free­dom for the Cuban peo­ple and the free­ing of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers”. Cas­tro said in a speech the fol­low­ing day that Cuba “will not re­nounce a sin­gle one of its prin­ci­ples,” re­it­er­at­ing a long­stand­ing re­jec­tion of any US pres­sure.

While Hil­lary Clin­ton main­tains an elec­toral col­lege ad­van­tage, Cubans are sud­denly en­vi­sion­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a US pres­i­dent who would undo

DIn this March 21, 2016 file photo, Cuban Pres­i­dent Raúl Cas­tro (right) lifts up the arm of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama at the con­clu­sion of their joint news con­fer­ence at the Palace of the Rev­o­lu­tion in Ha­vana, Cuba, in March. Don­ald Trump’s pledge to undo Obama’s dé­tente with Cuba is pro­vok­ing wide­spread anx­i­ety among or­di­nary Cubans.

mea­sures pop­u­lar among vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one on the is­land.

While the dé­tente an­nounced on De­cem­ber 17, 2014 has had lim­ited di­rect im­pact on most or­di­nary Cubans, it has cre­ated feel­ings of op­ti­mism about a fu­ture of civil re­la­tions with Cuba’s gi­ant neigh­bour to the

north. An Univi­sion-Wash­ing­ton Post poll of 1,200 Cubans taken in March 2015 found that 97 per cent sup­ported dé­tente.

For most or­di­nary peo­ple in a coun­try that’s had only two lead­ers over nearly six decades, and where the pres­i­dent’s word is law, Trump’s un­ex­pected re­ver­sal was a re­minder that a sin­gle elec­tion might wipe away those closer ties.

Still, some Cuban ex­perts on re­la­tions with the US saw the can­di­date as merely pan­der­ing to anti-Cas­tro Cuban-Amer­i­cans in South Florida, and don’t be­lieve a Pres­i­dent Trump would fol­low through with his cam­paign pledge.

Hil­lary Clin­ton has de­clared her sup­port for con­tin­u­ing Obama’s pol­icy, which has re­opened the US Em­bassy, re-es­tab­lished di­rect flights and re­moved Cuba from a list of state ter­ror spon­sors. It also has done away with most lim­its on cash re­mit­tances from the US and in­creased co­op­er­a­tion on top­ics rang­ing from law en­force­ment to pub­lic health.

Obama has worked hard to make the open­ing ir­re­versible by build­ing pop­u­lar and cor­po­rate sup­port at home. In Cuba, the gov­ern­ment has wel­comed some new ties, like sci­en­tific co­op­er­a­tion and com­mer­cial flights. It has stalled on oth­ers, like fer­ries from Florida. Some ob­servers be­lieve that’s be­cause Cas­tro’s gov­ern­ment fears build­ing ties that a hos­tile fu­ture US ad­min­is­tra­tion could use in the in­ter­ests of regime change.

FILE

AP

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