Quantcast
Connect with us

Cubans are crestfallen that Trump is rolling back historic detente

Published

on

Cubans said they were crestfallen to be returning to an era of frostier relations with the United States as the news spread that U.S. President Donald Trump was set to revert parts of the historic detente with Cuba.

Trump will on Friday announce a plan to tighten rules on Americans traveling to Communist-run Cuba and significantly restrict U.S. firms from doing business with Cuban enterprises controlled by the military, White House officials said.

“It hurts to be going backwards. To roll back the engagement will only manage to isolate us from the world,” said Havana resident Marta Deus, who will try to tune into Trump’s speech in Miami, the heartland of Cuban exiles.

Deus recently set up an accountancy firm and courier service, to cater to a private sector that has flourished since a landmark agreement two and a half years ago between former U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro to normalize relations between the former Cold War foes.

“We need clients, business, we need the economy to move and by isolating Cuba, they will only manage to hurt many Cuban families and force companies to close,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 2014 deal sparked widespread euphoria in Cuba and raised hopes for an improvement in its ailing economy.

An increased arrival of U.S. tourists thanks to eased restrictions fueled a boom in tourism, especially in Havana, creating demand for more BnBs, restaurants, taxis and tour guides in the fledgling private sector.

But critics say the opening failed to improve rights on the island. Trump will justify his partial reversal of Obama’s measures to a large extent on those grounds, the White House officials said, and some Cuban dissidents back his tougher stance, saying repression has worsened since the detente.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cuban authorities have stepped up their detentions of activists, often confiscating their telephones and laptops, but they have also been coming down with a heavy hand on self- employed Cubans who appear to be empowering themselves.

“When the Obama administration stopped condemning human rights violations in Cuba, the regime here said ‘look we can do this and nothing happens, so we can continue repressing more forcefully’,” said Jose Daniel Ferrer, who leads the Patriotic Union of Cuba, the country’s largest dissident group.

Ferrer said his group had 53 activists currently imprisoned due to their political views. Other dissidents agree repression has worsened but say rolling back the detente, which will hurt ordinary Cubans, is not the solution.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It will probably not have any benefit in terms of human rights,” said Eliecer Avila, the leader of the opposition youth group Somos Mas.

The Cuban government has withstood the U.S. trade embargo for more than a half century and will not make any political concessions to the United States due to economic pressure, said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat.

“I am concerned it will affect the private sector quite a bit and much more than the Cuban government,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Without doubt it will impact those in the tourism industry that have benefited from a threefold increase in U.S. visits in the last two years, although it is unclear just how much.

“It’s going to really hurt me because the majority of my clients are from the United States,” said Enrique Montoto, 61, who rents rooms on U.S. online home-rental marketplace Airbnb, which expanded into Cuba in 2015.

“With things going to pot, I’ll have to tighten my belt.”

ADVERTISEMENT

This new setback to the Cuban economy will come at a time when it is already wrestling with falling oil shipments from crisis-stricken ally Venezuela and a decline in exports.

“This is another blow for Cubans and it will hurt our pockets obviously,” said Martha Garcia, 51. “With the United States, there is no tranquility.”

(Additional reporting by Marc Frank in Havana and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Michael Perry)


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

US House of Representatives kills attempt to impeach Trump

Published

on

The U.S. House of Representatives by a wide margin just voted to not take action on a resolution to consider impeaching President Donald Trump over his racist remarks. The forced vote, which is still ongoing, currently stands at 331 in favor of "tabling," or putting aside, the motion, and 93 voting against tabling, meaning 93 voting to consider the motion.

The motion was brought by Democratic Congressman Al Green, who has been trying to impeach President Trump.

This is the first time the House has weighed in officially on the issue.

Some who support impeachment voted against the motion, saying it needs to go through proper channels, generally the House Judiciary Committee.

Continue Reading

Facebook

‘Fat people don’t wear shorts’: North Carolina girl goes viral after being body shamed in church

Published

on

On Wednesday, WCTI News Channel 12 reported on a viral video circulating of a girl in North Carolina being body-shamed at her own church by a community leader.

"She had came [sic] in and said you're too fat to wear those shorts, fat girls don't wear shorts," said 19-year-old Jenna Munger, describing the encounter, which happened as she was visiting the restroom while singing in the church choir.

On the video, which has already gathered more than 5 million views, the woman can be heard saying, "She's a chubby girl, but she's got a dress on that's appropriate; it comes down to the top of her knees."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Trump administration diverts development aid meant for Guatemala and Honduras to boost Venezuela’s Guaido

Published

on

President Donald Trump's administration is diverting nearly $42 million intended for development aid in Guatemala and Honduras to support Venezuela's opposition chief Juan Guaido, including staff salaries, an internal document showed.

In a memo obtained by AFP, the US Agency for International Development called Venezuela's political crisis "a significant, exigent event in the US national interest" that required a switch in $41.9 million in funds.

The United States and more than 50 other countries recognize Guaido as president of Venezuela, but leftist leader Nicolas Maduro remains in power despite nearly half a year of international efforts.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Enjoy Summer! Try Raw Story Ad-Free for $1. Invest in Progressive Journalism.
close-image