Last week, President Trump, through executive order, has undone Obama-era measures to warm relations between Cuba and the United States. According to ABC, the Trump Administration “will begin strictly enforcing the exemptions that allow travel between the US and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the military and intelligence services.” However, it is mentioned by several sources that the U.S. is expanding efforts of internet access and other services on the island, but stands against lifting the embargo by the United Nations until more human rights are restored within the country.
Just this past week the Trump Administration punished an American company for its Canadian subsidiary for providing cars to the Cuban embassy in Canada. This, and other recent measures since Friday, was slammed by Cuba’s government in public statements.
What We Can Learn
There is a lot to unpack in such a short time, and more is developing. The Vindicator has spotlighted Cuba in recent weeks with articles such as President Trump’s double standard in regards to Cuba and Saudi Arabia, as well as Libertarian groups in the United States standing in opposition to the Cuban government’s treatment of its own Libertarian Party. This is because right now, there is a flux in the government and one that could bring more free-market ideals that could be beneficial to all Cubans.
Yes, we should stand for human rights, but the Trump Administration’s record on human rights is pretty clear with its deal with the Saudi Arabian government. Moreover, Trump’s financial dealings in the past and the crossover with his governmental decisions clearly shows where his loyalties lie. The question we should ask over the course of this event: what is Trump’s true motivations?
Putting that aside, how will this embargo affect Cubans? We’ve seen the government crackdown on Cuban Libertarians. What will the United States pulling out of Cuba do to those Cubans left behind, unable to share their stories? Cuba’s government benefits from no outside forces being in the country. What happens when the U.S. leaves, or restricts companies like the car company, from being involved? What happens if a company wants to expand into Cuban territory and offers competition against the Cuban government?
Many might praise Trump for his move based on human rights, but a government deciding who and what can work within Cuban runs counter to many liberty principles. As one source puts it, “American sanctions against Cuba don’t only affect Americans or American businesses.” They affect businesses now of two other countries. Opposing this move by President Trump should be something liberals, Libertarians and conservatives all support. How to counter it could be debated, and Libertarians have their own way of thinking. But it should be a conversation we have and have soon.