On Friday President Trump and Senator Rubio took to the podium before a passionate crowd in Miami to announce their “Better Deal for Cuba” policy. The new policy, which reversed much of President Obama’s opening with Cuba, restores America’s ability to leverage our political and economic strength to push for human rights in Cuba. Furthermore, it reaffirms the primacy of America’s moral commitment to liberty, both for the people of Cuba and around the world.
The “Better Deal for Cuba Policy” is a carefully tailored policy that allows America to continue interaction with Cuba on diplomatic and national security issues, as well as limited economic interaction, but prevents American dollars from going towards GAESA, the Cuban military’s holding-company which controls large parts of the tourism, retail, and overall economy.
Rather, American dollars spent on the island will be funneled towards small businesses owned by the Cuban people, and thus directly for their benefit, instead of subsidizing the repressive police state.
The policy that President Trump, Senator Rubio, and Congressman Diaz-Balart hammered out demonstrates a commitment to what’s best for the American people, the Cuban people, and the cause of liberty overall. The administration apparently, according to reports, initially considered either a complete termination of diplomatic and economic relations were Cuba to not comply with a variety of human rights demands or simply just leaving the Obama administration’s Cuba policy in place.
Instead, this policy achieves a balanced middle-ground that still allows American businesses and interests to interact in appropriate ways with Cuba while not so blatantly casting aside our commitment to human rights in the island as under President Obama’s Cuba policy.
One of the major problems with President Obama’s Cuba policy was that, by near-completely normalizing diplomatic and economic relations with Castro’s Communist regime without any human rights concessions, we tarnished America’s half-century struggle for freedom for the Cuban people by essentially giving up the fight.
Not only did the Obama Administration’s policy essentially forsake the Cuban people’s struggle for liberty, but it sent a message across the world to oppressed peoples living under tyrannical regimes that America was willing to put aside their aspirations and rights in exchange for a paltry economic gain. Thankfully, if President Trump’s liberty-oriented speech in Miami sets the tone for our foreign policy under his administration, such disregard will be no more.
The Cold War may be long over, but the firm commitment America made to human liberty across the world during that struggle should never be closed. America’s relationship with Cuba has been long, complex, and guided for a long time by titanic international geopolitical affairs. It has changed in many ways, but in many ways it still hasn’t.
Cuba is no longer a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Neither does Cuba still provide, to our knowledge, heavy financing and training to rebel organizations that work against America’s interests both in Latin America and across the world.
Nonetheless, Cuba’s regime retains its ideological center through a demonization of America and our way of life. The only way they keep a modicum of public support is by presenting America as a capitalist boogeyman. When such a tale does not ring with citizens of Cuba, the force of arms of their repressive police state that remains as active and brutal as ever fills in the enthusiasm gap. The 10,000 political arrests in Cuba in 2016 are but one of many reminders of that still-current reality.
President Trump has fulfilled one of his key campaign promises that undoubtedly was essentially in helping him win the crucial state of Florida in 2016. While President Trump is still working on major legislative victories, nonetheless in terms of executive branch policy he has demonstrated a consistent commitment to systematically achieving the changes he campaigned on.
Throughout this saga, Senator Rubio has also demonstrated again his unshakable commitment to human freedom not just for Americans but for all peoples. It is reported that Senator Rubio’s efforts in crafting the “Better Deal for Cuba” were not just crucial, but the main crux of the effort. America is blessed to have such an articulate and strong advocate for our ideals as we have in Senator Rubio.
The “Better Deal for Cuba” reaffirms America’s long-standing moral commitment to liberty for the Cuban people and all oppressed peoples across the world. It is a reminder that America remains not just a refuge for freedom-seeking peoples across the world but also their advocate, defender, and champion.