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US-Cuba: Ignorance and apathy on both sides
Published on July 6, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

HOLGUIN, Cuba -- Last month’s announcement by US President Donald Trump of new foreign policy measures aimed at Cuba and influenced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio (the Trubio Doctrine) is characterised by ignorance and apathy on both sides of the Florida Straits.

Trump is apparently ignorant of the 55 years of failure of the US trade and financial embargo against Cuba or, if he has actually read his intelligence briefings (always a doubtful proposition), has deliberately ignored them in favour of a total lack of interest in the Cuban people.

His primary focus is on the Senate and House votes his ill advised directive will secure for his embattled legislative agenda – healthcare “reform” and tax cuts for the wealthy – leading to the insanity of repeating something and expecting a different result.

Wondering who advised Trump in relation to his Cuba policy, professor of criminal law at the Faculty of Law at the Universidad de Oriente (University of the East), Caridad García Rondon, echoed our own recent article: Cuba: Trump is insane, according to Einstein

“Donald Trump had to know what we Cubans learned many years ago from the eminent scientist Albert Einstein: ‘If you are looking for different results, do not continue doing the same thing’," Rondon after analyzing what he described as the paradox of Trump’s June 16 speech in Miami announcing the new policy measures.

Rubio, on the other hand, doubtless knows his history but, again, cares little or nothing for the Cuban people. His agenda is driven by the millions of dollars of campaign finance provided by the old Cuban elite plantocracy, who were dispossessed in 1959 – not by a communist revolution but by a grassroots uprising against the oppression and abuse of the time perpetrated by the same Cuban elite and enforced by the Batista authoritarian regime.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, the same ignorance and apathy is evident, at least in Holguin, the principal city of the eponymous province in the eastern part of the island, well away from the more tourist-centric capital of Havana.

El Centro, Holguin. Photo: Caribbean News Now

With little exposure on local television, the ordinary Cubans in Holguin are by and large ill-informed as to the regressive US policy and, even if they were, evidently would not much care.

The prevailing attitude is that Cuba has survived for 55 years without US assistance or business and can survive another 55 years if need be, especially when the rest of the world is more than ready to trade with the island.

In 2016, Cuba welcomed a record four million visitors, a 13 percent increase over the previous year, which was also was a record, with only a small percentage being Americans, who are still restricted from visiting the island as tourists.

According to Jorge Martinez, who for 20 years has run a so-called casa particular (a government licensed but privately operated guesthouse) in Holguin, American visitors are by no means an important component of his business.

Acknowledging that he was unfamiliar with the recent US policy changes, he said, “I will still receive my guests from Canada and Europe – France, Germany, Britain, etc. It makes no difference to me whether Americans are allowed to come or not.”

Back in the US, Professor Lynne Bangsund of Portland, Oregon, criticised the setback announced by Trump on June 16.

“The president has a very short-sighted view and restricting trips to Cuba is one of his many erroneous decisions, but we hope that the pressure of public opinion is strong enough to make these new changes temporary, she said.

Related article:
US-Cuba policy: 'The mother of all blunders'
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