Who will benefit from policy changes?
Even though polling shows that 96% of Cubans living on the island support lifting the trade embargo and have said that more tourism would benefit the local economy, President Trump has announced that “in solidarity with the Cuban people” the U.S. would add more barriers to trade and travel to Cuba.
Since polling has also shown that 63% of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County oppose the continuation of the embargo, the only goal of this policy is to fulfill a campaign promise to a tiny sliver of the Cuban American community in the U.S. and not to help anyone living in Cuba. In addition, the policy ignores polling that shows that 73% of people in the U.S. favor ending the trade embargo.
The full impact of the Cuba Memorandum signed by President Trump on June 16 won’t be known until the Departments of State, Treasury and Commerce write the final regulations, a process that could take months. Some of the announced changes include:
- Travelers in the twelve approved categories will be subject to audit up to five years after travel.
- Self-directed individual travel is forbidden in the people-to-people category, although group travel is still permitted in that category.
- Access will be restricted to enterprises in Cuba managed by the Cuban armed forces.
Cuban Council of Churches responds
In their statement on the policy changes, the Cuban Council of Churches said, “The establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States brought about a new era based on the new policies undertaken during the Obama Administration. It had been the dream and struggle of many who also included churches and religions on both sides. A path of respect and dialogue demonstrated hope to the
world that once civilized relations are established bridges can be built and walls torn down. These agreements between both countries, the result of the work of many years and of several generations, had and have the support of the wide community of believers at national and global levels.
Today, June 16, President Donald Trump has announced another policy that involves a setback in a path that, although fragile, established clear steps in a strategy of coexistence where everyone could benefit and that promised a future of peace and understanding, not only between the two nations but for the whole region.…
We express our gratitude to God and to all his sons and daughters as we continue to seek the lifting of the embargo and the search for solutions through dialogue and peace. Once again, we call for unity in prayer, action in the hope of the abundant life to which Christ calls us……
Let’s end the embargo!
In April of 1960, State Department officials wrote that the goal of the U.S. embargo was “…to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government” (State Department, April 6, 1960). In fact, the U.S. embargo of Cuba was changed very little by the Obama Administration and today the Cuban people still experience shortages of many essentials including life-saving medicines and medical products.
CRLN has worked with faith communities in Cuba and the U.S. for more than twenty years to end harmful U.S. policies, believing that the human rights of Cubans and the people of the U.S. would best be served by lifting all travel restrictions and finally ending the embargo. Please join us in this work!