Obama administration presses on Cuba to sign agreements before D-Day

Posted: 07-Dec-16 10:17

With Donald Trump's spell in the White House set to begin next month, pressure is mounting for Cuba to complete negotiations with Washington ahead of the handover. New business arrangements would see American firms trading with the Caribbean island for the first time in more than 50 years.

Obama administration presses on Cuba to sign agreements before D-Day

General Electric and Google are among the major US companies that are currently pipped to secure new business arrangements to operate within Cuba. This would be the first time American firms have been able to trade within the Communist state since embargoes were enforced more than half a century ago.

Time is of the essence, however, with Barack Obama’s administration already preparing to vacate the White House to make way for Donald Trump and his new cabinet, who succeed to power in January after winning November’s election. There are concerns that the new ruling party could begin to backtrack on recent efforts to re-initiate diplomatic and economic ties between Cuba and the U.S. given Trump’s comments on Twitter:

“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate the deal.”

The new business agreements are due to be unveiled before Christmas 2016, according to sources cited in an article on the website Market Watch, and arrive in the wake of increased visitor numbers from America to the isolated state. Under Obama, access to visas has been granted to any U.S. citizen that can prove they want to visit Cuba for one of 12 individual reasons, including journalism, cultural learning, and education.

If the situation were to remain unchanged once Trump’s Republicans begin their term of office, this rise in arrivals from America is expected to continue in the coming years, with several newly established direct flights from the U.S mainland to destinations including Havana facilitating the trend. Meanwhile, three cruise lines are also thought to be preparing to announce new routes that include Cuba; Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Royal Caribbean and Pearl Seas Cruises.

It confirms one thing, if not more- Cuba as a nation is going through an irreversible upheaval that, poignantly, coincides with the death of its longest-reigning ruler in modern history, Fidel Castro, architect of the same Communist system that remains in place today, and which has defined the country’s cultural, political and economic make-up for decades.

The introduction of capitalist mega-firms, along with mass tourism, would have been unthinkable for much of that period, meaning these realities are signs of a policy of opening-up to the world which has, in other instances like the USSR, sounded the death knell for Communism and paved the way for a globalised, capitalist framework.


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