Cuba Relationship Works Both Ways
No doubt Cuban leaders counted on the United States not to look back after former President Barack Obama reversed longstanding policies toward the communist island in December 2014. But there is a new president in town, and he is right to insist Cuba keep its end of the bargain.
For decades, U.S. presidents and members of Congress had agreed on economic sanctions and severe limits on Americans’ interactions with Cuba. But Obama changed all that. Now, some Americans see Cuba as a tourist destination. Some U.S. companies are attempting to do business on the island — though at least a few have given up that idea, after learning how Cuban leaders treat private enterprise.
In exchange for the thaw, Cuba was supposed to end repression of its own citizens and stop stirring up trouble in the hemisphere.
But last week, President Donald Trump noted what was obvious, that Havana has not complied with its pledges. In effect, the regime is capitalizing on tourism and other economic links, while keeping its fist slammed down on the Cuban people.
Because of that, Trump has restored some, but not all, of the economic and travel restrictions in place before Obama’s action.
It amounts to a shot across the bow of the Cuban regime: Keep your word, stop repressing your own people, or the United States — for a change — will respond forcefully. Good. Cuba is as good a place as any for the world to learn Americans believe others should keep their promises, too.