Cubans are hopeful that when Joe Biden is installed as President of the United States, he will lift the crippling sanctions that saw tourism dramatically decline under Donald Trump’s administration.
Cubans celebrated Biden’s victory in anticipation that the former vice-president under President Barack Obama will restore good relations between the countries.
After Obama reopened the US embassy in Havana, Trump closed it in response to several US Department of State employees who fell mysteriously ill. Trump’s retrograde from Obama’s detente also set limits on travel and remittances.
Andy Gómez is the former interim director of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. According to conversations he said he’s had with Biden foreign policy advisers, there will be some adjustments.
“You might see some of the more recent Trump policy be rescinded," Gómez said.
The reopening on Sunday of the José Martí International Airport in Havana allows revenue to start flowing back, but it won’t be enough. Less help from Venezuela, a badly managed centrally planned economy, and the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic means Cuba faces deep economic troubles.
Cuba has a different bargaining position now than when Obama was president. Before Trump, Obama and Cuba agreed on immigration. Obama ended a policy that welcomed Cuban refugees. Trump didn’t make any changes. Immigration attorneys say it’s likely that Biden won’t either. He may focus on the Cuban asylum seekers who are stranded in Mexico.
Obama also used executive actions to help promote Cuban entrepreneurship. Supporters of the policy aimed to create the foundation of a growing private sector on the Communist-run island. Trump didn’t believe in the strategy. It’s still unclear if Biden does.
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