Trump to reverse Cuba policy if demands not met

The Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has said that if he wins the US Presidential race he will reverse the US process of détente with Cuba, unless the Cuban government meets his demands for more religious and political freedom.

Mr Trump, speaking at a rally in downtown Miami on September 16, said that if became President he would be able to remove what he described as “concessions” by the Obama Administration, as they had been made by executive order. Continuing, Mr Trump said, “and that I will do unless the Castro Regime meets our demands.” “Those demands,” he said, “will include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.”

In an address more typical of mainstream Republican candidates of the past when addressing South Florida audiences containing significant numbers of older Cuban Americans, he reversed his earlier more conciliatory position on Cuba. Previously, he had said that he supported normalised relations, but would have preferred a better deal.

Speaking from prepared notes, the Presidential candidate also said that his administration would “stand with the Cuban people in their fight against Communist oppression.” “The president’s one-sided deal for Cuba, and with Cuba, benefits only the Castro regime. People are very unhappy about it,” Mr Trump told a cheering audience of Latin voters living in the city. Mr Trump also spoke about Venezuela and Haiti.

Some US media reports said that Mr Trump’s original prepared remarks did not call for the “freeing of political prisoners,” but that it was a demand that Mr Trump added while speaking.

Earlier this year in interviews, Mr Trump had said “the concept of opening [relations] with Cuba is fine,” but was critical of President Obama for an arrangement that in his view had brought few benefits for the US.

In March in a short interview with the Miami Herald (Cuba Briefing March 14, 2016), Mr Trump said that unlike others running for the Republican nomination, he supported expanding economic ties between the US and Cuba. In other comments in South Florida at the time, Mr Trump observed that 50 years of a US embargo on Cuba had not worked, and that the United States ‘has to work something out’. The Republican candidate also told CNN in March that he would consider opening a hotel in Cuba.

More recently Mr Trump said…

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly Cuba Briefing, a leading publication that provides detailed and accurate news on economic, social and political developments inside Cuba to corporate interests with a long term economic relationship with the island.

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