THE ACTIONS of president Donald Trump have become fairly predictable. This is particularly true if it has anything to do with the legacy of president Barack Obama.
Trump will try to undo everything Obama did; it almost seems as if he would like to pretend that the first black man to be in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. never occupied the office.
Not surprisingly, he has the support of many, many Americans, and even a few Bajans, in that outlook.
So when Trump announced some changes to the US-Cuba relations, any thinking person would not have been totally surprised. But, his fighting words in the heart of the vocal Cuban community in Florida were also about pleasing an aging hard line block of voters who dream day and night about returning to Havana and taking control of the administration.
Unfortunately for Trump, Senator Marco Rubio and the anti-Castro elements in Florida, while the effort to reverse the isolation of Cuba may win votes in the sunshine state next year and perhaps in 2020, the decisions simply will not stand the test of time. They need to stop day dreaming.
The announcement also shows the clear difference in treatment of people – Cuban refugees and Haitian refugees. One set, the Cubans, are held in high esteem and given preferential treatment. On the other hand are the Haitians, who are still seen as chattel and left to ensure any and all types of hardships.
Trump’s announcement also tells the difference between a country with might and one struggling against the odds.
It can be reasonably asked what’s the difference between the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam and Russia on one hand and Cuba on the other. Certainly they’re all communist states. Of course Cuba has many, many more black people and “brownings” than any of the others.
China and Russia are military giants which the USA will think very cautiously about getting entangled with in any show of force; we cannot forget the Americans left a reunified Vietnam in 1973 in military disgrace.
Cuba had in 1961 repelled the Bay of Pigs invaders who were backed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the USA government; to this day that has been a hard defeat to accept.
The Americans today enjoy diplomatic ties with China, Russia and yes, Vietnam and whosoever it deems necessary, including those which are absolute monarchies to those which are outright dictatorships; none of which have had to struggle against the odds placed in Cuba’s pathway to progress.
No wonder Cuba’s health and education sectors are so admired the world over given their achievements against incredible odds.
What can be assured is that the leaders of America’s commerce and industry, young Americans, especially with Cuban roots, looking to explore their heritage and the governments on either side the USA’s borders as well as a host of European nations doing enhanced business with Cuba, will make the American political leaders realize the folly of their policies. In the meantime, the European Union and Latin American nations will embrace Cuba.
The Vatican will continue to engage the communist Caribbean nation.
Of course, we in the Caribbean Community will simply have to continue our strong relationship with our Spanish-speaking neighbour and help to institute change there. One of the significant areas we can lead is through the cooperative movement; particularly in transport and financial services.
The only real issue is having better air connections between the Eastern Caribbean and Havana.
The world needs to show Trump and his America First policy exactly how we feel and where we stand.
• Eric Smith is the NATION’s Editor-In-Chief. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org