[OP-ED]: Trump-Rubio lovefest not good news for Cuba
Almost lost in the tsunami of confusion and chaos that is Donald Trump’s so-called presidency’s modus operandi, the issue of relations with Cuba made a rare –and worrisome--appearance last week at the White House.
It happened during a kiss and make up dinner between the former reality show character turned President and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who forever will be known as “Little Marco” thanks to Trump’s apt description of the slippery Cuban-American politician in one of the 2016 presidential primaries debates.
“We had dinner with Senator Rubio and his wife, who is, by the way, lovely,” Trump said. “And we had a really good discussion about Cuba because we have very similar views on Cuba.”
Good discussion for whom, one has to wonder, because you can bet your knickers (or your boxers), that for the future of a U.S-Cuba policy such discussion was exactly the opposite of good.
Rubio’s extreme hatred of any step that could inject a semblance of rationality into a Cuba policy with a record of more than 50 years of abject failure, is well known. In a field of Cuba-haters composed by the three Cuban American representatives from South Florida, and the senator from New Jersey, Rubio has been the most vocal enemy of President Obama’s measures that led to reestablishing diplomatic relations with Havana and a new opening in legal travel to the island.
“I’m committed to doing everything I can to unravel as many of these changes as I can,” a furious Little Marco said, and I can imagine him, little fists closed tight, pounding on a table in a futile attempt to look tough. “I intend to use every tool at our disposal in the majority [in the Senate] to unravel as many of these changes as possible.”
Trump’s is a different story. His position on Cuba, as many others, was decided out of blatant opportunism as Sarah Stephens, a Cuba expert from Washington’s Center for Democracy in the Americas, has explained:
“During the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, as we previously reported, Mr. Trump returned to Florida to reverse his prior support for lifting the embargo by adopting an anti-engagement position aligned with hardliners like Sen. Rubio and the three Cuban American representatives from South Florida. After the election, President-elect Trump stocked his transition team with advocates who want the U.S. to return to its Cold War posture of isolating and sanctioning Cuba.”
Ironically, Rubio knows Cuba only through pictures. Born in Florida he has never set foot on the land of his parents, and knows little about its history, and even less about the national pride and moral strength that has sustained the Cuban people through half a century of relentless hostility from the most powerful country in the world. He should have learned by now that a return to an anachronistic pre-Obama Cold War policy will fail miserably. Cuba has demonstrated time and time again that it doesn’t respond well to threats and bullying.
That, of course, should have been Rubio’s message for Trump during his visit to the White House, although no one expected such a decent gesture from the spineless Little Marco. After all he has spent years pretending to want to help his parents’ compatriots on the island, while working very hard to maintain the embargo and keep them living in poverty and hardship.
No, nothing good can be expected for Cuba or anything else from the hypocritical Trump-Rubio love fest.