Trump And Cuba, Or How To Bet On The Wrong Winner
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 13 June 2017 – In less than 72 hours
President Donald Trump will declare in Miami the new basis for the
United States government's policies towards Cuba. At that time the
decisions of his predecessor Barack Obama, during the process of
normalization of diplomatic relations with the island, could be paused
The magnate will make the announcement into a spectacle like so many he
has starred in since he has been at the head of the greatest power on
earth. He will gesticulate, commit himself to human rights and elicit
enthusiastic applause, but then he will return to the White House and
the Island will fall off his agenda.
Why entrust the fate of this country to a man who has failed to keep a
single one of the election promises he made to his own people? Is the
policy toward Cuba the only thing that will turn out well from someone
who has behaved like a political bull in a china shop?
Trump will try to please the voices asking him to tighten the screws on
Havana. Sanctions, cutting back and revoking the measures taken during
the thaw are among the demands of those who bet on confrontation, a
strategy that has had half a century to demonstrate its ineffectiveness.
The president will especially address himself to those who insist on
"turning off the tap," cutting off communication and shutting down
supplies to the longest dictatorship in the West, as if such measures
will cut off the electricity, water supply or internet access to the
homes of the Community Party elite.
It is symptomatic that demands for economic strangulation rarely spring
from those who wait long hours for a bus, depend daily on the bread that
is distributed in the rationed market and have to stretch a monthly
salary that is barely enough to survive on for a week.
On the other hand, blaming Obama's "soft hand" for the wreck of
normalization leads one to forget that those in charge in Cuba did not
seize the opportunity for fear of losing control. They were more
frightened by Obama's speech at the Gran Teatro de La Habana than by any
threat of military intervention.
Those who have aspired for decades to unconditional surrender, to
revengeful justice, and to "all or nothing" with Castroism, did not lose
any time in putting roadblocks in the way of the process started on 17
December 2014. Starting this Friday they will be forced to accept
everything that happens after Trump's decisions, or to recognize this is
not the way to emerge from a dictatorship.
The figures for arbitrary arrests compiled by the Cuban Human Rights
Commission are unlikely to decline significantly, the Ladies in White
will still be unable to march down Fifth Avenue in the west of Havana,
and opposition groups will remain illegal and persecuted by the police.
What will be the foreseeable consequences on the Island of a return to
the politics of the cudgel? An increase in repression and a better
positioning of the more conservative sectors. The Plaza of the
Revolution, the tyranny of the Castros, the regime… or whatever you
prefer to call it, will not be alone in facing the tightening of the
screws from Washington.
Russia, China, Angola, Nicolas Maduro and comrades from North Korea,
Congo, Zimbabwe and Iran will rush to take sides with Raul Castro.
Meanwhile, in the streets of the Island the population will mark Trump's
measures with renewed "marches of the fighting people," shouting
anti-imperialist slogans and accepting the postponement of the old
promises of the Revolution.
Faced with "the new onslaught from the empire" the government will
reinforce its aptitude for entrenchment. In the upper echelons of power
there will be no cracks or disagreements. Persecutors will strengthen
their power and enjoy the impunity to crush any resistance.
Trump will not achieve, with his new measures, a new march by university
students with a "Down with the Dictatorship" poster, nor will the unions
call for a general strike against the government, nor will the farmers
march to the cities demanding land.
It is not even clear whether the president will serve out four years in
office, cornered as he is by political scandals, alleged Kremlin
intervention in the elections that brought him to power and his
unfortunate way of managing politics through incendiary treatises or
His decisions will not provoke another Maleconazo on the island like the
one of August of 1994. That popular protest was spurred by the desire to
escape the country, not change it. Those dramatic events were not
sparked by the opposition, nor did they generate political changes, just
the Rafter Crisis.
Such an outbreak would be a nightmare for a leader with a marked
nationalism and an evident anti-immigrant phobia.
This Friday the American president will have his moment in front of the
Cuban exile. The applause for him will be short-lived. The placebo
effect of his announcements will dissipate to give way to the stubborn
reality that no decision of a foreign government will change Cuba,
regardless of whether Barack Obama or Donald Trump is at the head of it.
Source: Trump And Cuba, Or How To Bet On The Wrong Winner – Translating