Mr. Secretary, what are you telling Cuba?

Our Secretary of State just got back from China and said this:   

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that the United States would have deep concerns about Chinese military activities in Cuba, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing was planning a new training facility there.

Speaking at a press conference in London after wrapping up a trip this week to Beijing, Blinken said he made clear to his Chinese counterparts “that we would have deep concerns about PRC intelligence or military activities in Cuba”.    

Blinken added: “This is something we’re going to be monitoring very, very closely and we’ve been very clear about that. And we will protect our homeland, we will protect our interests.”  The 

Wall Street Journal, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported on Tuesday that China and Cuba are negotiating to establish a joint military training facility on the island that could lead to the stationing of Chinese troops just 100 miles off Florida’s coast.

Well, I’m sure that the Chinese are really concerned, too. Don’t expect that ship from China to turn around anytime soon, unless we are prepared to go to “blockade” mode and shut down the island.  

The Chinese are just taking advantage of our weakness. The key player is Cuba, and that’s where the behind the scenes talk need to be directed.

You can start by shutting down remittances.  At the moment, the sum is critical for Cuba. Let’s see the numbers:  

Remittances constitute a substantial part of Cuba’s gross national income. Cuba does not publish figures on remittances and is not a member of international financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Inter-American Development Bank, which provide credible statistics. There are estimates produced by research groups, but these vary significantly. For example, Manuel Orozco of the Inter-American Dialogue reported $1.53 billion in remittances in 2019, while the Havana Consulting Group reported $3.72 billion.

Despite these disparities, remittances constitute Cuba’s third-largest source of dollar reserves after the service and tourism industries. To put it in perspective, Cuba’s GDP was $103 billion in 2019, with net official development assistance inflow of $499 million and remittances of $2–?$3 billion annually.

No remittances would hit Cuba very hard.

You can close the U.S. Embassy.  After all, didn’t President Obama open the Embassy in 2015 to help Cuba change? Having Chinese troops in the island is enough proof that Cuba did not change.  

We can start with those two steps and let’s see where we go next.

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