In an interview with the Cuban American news outlet Martí this week, Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) said President Donald Trump’s soon-to-be-unveiled Cuba policy will center around promoting “the freedom of the Cuban people” and treating the Castro regime as the “narco-terrorist tyranny” that it is.
Díaz-Balart, who represents a significant percentage of America’s Cuban population in his Florida district, has reportedly discussed in detail the U.S. policy towards the communist island government with the president, along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
President Trump is expected to unveil his new diplomatic policy towards Cuba in Florida on Friday. Trump promised anti-communist Cuban Americans that he would use the office of the presidency to advocate for the human rights of Cubans trapped on the island and reverse the regime-friendly policies of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama. Obama “normalized” ties with the regime in 2014 and visited dictator Raúl Castro in 2016, enjoying a baseball game with the current head of the Castro dynasty:
“We are going to see a policy that emphasizes human rights, that emphasizes the freedom of the Cuban people and, obviously, the national security of the United States,” Díaz-Balart told Martí in a Spanish-language interview, adding that the Trump administration was adamant in refusing to “accept as normal or acceptable that these tyrants could transfer power like they were on a private estate.”
Unlike the Obama administration, which allowed for a high number of dubious American excursions to the island, Trump would enforce the current American law, Díaz-Balart added. “American tourism to the island is illegal until certain changes happen, and these changes are the liberty of the Cuban people…. the president has said he would enforce the law,” he asserted.
Cuba, he added, “is a narco-terrorist tyranny, and we know President Trump understands this.”
The Cuban government maintains friendly ties with the world’s most belligerent rogue nations, including North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. The Cuban government has provided safe haven to the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the world’s wealthiest non-jihadist terror organization, and has even celebrated them at public events. Havana’s Communist dictatorship has also reportedly conducted business with Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah and played a key role in an international scheme to provide Hezbollah terrorists with Venezuelan passports to which, as Middle Eastern nationals, they have no right. A Venezuelan passport allows for easier access to Latin America than a Lebanese, Syrian, or Iranian passport.
“President Trump will not allow the Castro dictatorship [to] strongarm him, and if the dictatorship thinks it can pressure or try to blackmail the president, they will be surprised,” Díaz-Balart concluded.
An Associated Press article first reported that the Trump administration had prepared to unveil a new Cuba policy this week. On Tuesday, the Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs Veterans Association issued a press release welcoming President Trump to Miami, where he is reportedly scheduled to travel this week.
“Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs Veterans Association President Humberto Argüelles along with other leaders of the Cuban Resistance both inside and outside Cuba, welcome back President Donald J. Trump to Miami as he gets set to announce his highly anticipated new policy towards Cuba,” the release read. Noting that it had been eight months since President Trump visited the Association and received its first-ever endorsement, the release continued, “Since then, several tweets and a White House statement made by President Trump are all in keeping with the promises he made at the home of the Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs Veterans Association concerning Cuba.”
Prior to running for president, Trump had asserted through multiple public declarations that he opposed business transactions that benefitted the Castro dictatorship.
The Associated Press takes a notably negative view towards holding the Castro regime accountable with a responsible U.S. policy towards Cuba and claims that anonymous officials within the White House expect Trump to limit American travel to Cuba and “demand greater internet access and the release of prisoners and return of American fugitives in Cuba.” The AP does not expect Trump to reverse former-President Obama’s ban on Cuban refugees staying legally in America via his repeal of the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” policy.
The Obama “normalization” policy towards Cuba has allowed American tourist industries to profit off of cooperation with the Castro administration and emboldened Raúl Castro, who has demanded America “return” Guantánamo Bay, which has never belonged to the sovereign Cuban state, and asserted that Cuba will make no concessions in any realm to America. During his visit to Cuba, President Obama admitted he had not provided the regime with a list of political prisoners the U.S. demanded they release.
Obama officials have, nonetheless, resurfaced to condemn the expected hard line Trump may take on Cuba. Ben Rhodes, a “storyteller” whom Obama tasked with deceiving the American people on the Iranian nuclear deal, told a technology forum this week that Trump will face hurdles to implementing a sensible Cuba policy because “our policies have been popular” among business interests.