On December 2014, President Obama decided to change our approach toward Cuba. He set in motion the events that led to the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana.
Like everything Obama, it was done unilaterally or by going around Congress on the embargo in place since the 1960s. To make a long story short, the U.S. embargo imposed certain guidelines to reestablish relations in Cuba. The Helms-Burton law made it even more specific after Cuba shot down U.S. citizens in 1996.
This week, President Trump used his pen to erase Obama’s pen. This is CNBC:
Americans wanting to visit Cuba will have to go as part of organized tour groups run by U.S. companies. A representative of the sponsoring group must accompany the travelers.
The Treasury Department is exempting trips booked before Trump announced his Cuba policy on June 16.
The State Department is also publishing a list of dozens of hotels, shops and other businesses that it says are linked to Cuba’s military. Americans are banned from doing business with them — making travel even more complicated.
President Obama’s idea was to flood the island with U.S. visitors and bet that such encounters would bring about change.
In theory, it may work. In Castro’s Cuba, it didn’t because everything is owned by the state or what is commonly known as Castro Inc.
If a U.S. tourist goes to Cuba, he stays in a state hotel, tours the island in a state bus, eats at a state restaurant and all of this puts money in Castro Inc. rather than the Cuban economy.
In sum, tourism to Cuba has turned into a subsidy of the Castro regime and not much more.
Communism in Cuba destroyed the healthy pre-Castro economy that saw thousands of Cubans own businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, tour bus companies and others.
My own family is an example of that. My father was a banker in a Cuban-owned bank. My uncles were successful professionals. We had several other small business owners in our large family. There is no such thing in Cuba today — another reason why the economy cannot produce anything or sustain itself without somebody bailing out the regime.
So enforce the embargo. The law offers Cuba a path to having normal relations with the U.S.