What to make of this insanity? Going backwards on Cuba

Every turn. Every decision. Everything this President says and does reflects his questionable character, his lack of moral compass, his duplicity, his true self.

They tell me the economy is doing so much better. I hear the stock market is up, unemployment down… So, am I supposed to jump for joy because of those economic gains and gloss over the depth of angst, the feeling of disgust, the lies and lies and lies of this man that is supposedly representing me as President of the United States?

As Trump honkers down and feels more comfortable in his role as the leader of a disconnected alliance of single issue constituents, we in the opposition are left with the feeling that he could very well repeat his victory dance. His single issue constituents include: The folks that simply will vote for anyone but Democrats; the anti-abortionists (sorry; I will not call them pro-life); the anti-immigration zealots; those that will take short term economic gains at all costs (and conveniently forget the deficit); the military might crowd; and of course, the White Power crowd who see the inevitable demographic changes coming but will go to any length to have a few more years of power. Trump has managed to give each of these constituent single-issue groups enough meat on the bones to please them into continuing to support him though many may be disgusted with his personal character.

In my personal  world of Cuba policy interest, he is simply gone extreme to the max. The latest news has Exxon suing the Cuban Oil Corporation for property expropriated in the early days of the Revolution in the early 60’s – nearly 60 years ago. Exxon is seizing the opportunity made possible by the new rules which allows companies to sue others benefitting from the nationalization of property by the Cuban government. At the same time, the Trump administration is going to bat for the opposition to the Venezuelan government, in hopes to secure Citgo’s assets in a post-Maduro government.

On the surface, this makes all the sense in the world: The U.S. is combating the evil of communism by economically strangling the Cuban and Venezuelan government. The Trump administration’s expectation is that the Cuban and Venezuelan people will rise up and demand the end of the inefficient, dictatorial, communist regimes that have ravaged Cuba and Venezuela… Fair enough.

Except. Except that to expect the Cuban people to rise against the Cuban government for the damage done to Exxon and other corporations and uber-wealthy families is not exactly and inviting approach. I don’t think you will find too many people in Cuba that will take to the streets with “Do Exxon Right” signs. Instead these measure are simply instilling a sense in the Cuban people that the motives of the U.S. government are not exactly in the interest of the Cuban people.

Add to that the historical suspicion that the Cuban government propaganda machine has been able to instill in the Cuban people regarding U.S. motives, and you get the resulting “no thank you” attitude the Cuban people are likely to exhibit. The Cuban people may be looking for more entrepreneurship opportunities, a more market driven economy, and the ability to leave – and return – to their Country. But, they are definitively not looking for a corporate invasion and rampant, unregulated capital infusion without accompanying social improvements. The Cuban people are not looking to change masters. They want to do away with masters.

Instead of encouraging Americans to go to Cuba to directly help the Cuban people – not unlike what is happening in Vietnam – the Trump Administration is making it more difficult to infuse Cuba people with personal capital. This will lead to a more struggling economy. And – most critical – the current Trump Administration will leave the Cuban government no option but to turn to Iran for oil, China for infrastructure, and Russia for defense… Can you blame them?!? (Putin could not have devised a more perfect plan to get Cuba back into his orbit.)

All the while the improvised Cuban people will continue turning to the ‘paquete’ (digital hard drives) from Miami for entertainment, they will continue minimal subsistence thanks to the remittance from family in the U.S., and the holy-hellish agreement with the Church will continue providing minimal care for children and elderly… Cuba will continue withering away, with the military getting richer and living the high life in the Iran/Russia sphere; some will artists playing both sides of the Florida Straits appeasing some on both sides; and the vast majority of Cubans will continue ‘resolviendo’ (making do) – and dreaming of exiting someday somehow… Can you blame them?!?

Yet, the calculus of the Trump administration seems to be very simple. Clearly, they don’t give a rats ass about the Cuban people… All they care about is: Will their new Cuba policy get them votes in Florida in 2020? That is their single short term calculus… Nada mas.