Cuba in 2017

Cuba in 2017

Presidential National Security Memorandum on Strengthening United States Policy toward Cuba

The 16 of June of 2017, the President of the United States, Donald Trump announced his government’s policy towards Cuba. The new políctica reversed the progress made after the December 17, 2014 Presidents Raul Castro Ruz and Barack Obama unveiled the decision to restore diplomatic relations and begin a process towards normalization of bilateral ties [37] .

In what constitutes a setback in relations between the two countries, Trump delivered a speech and signed a policy directive called “Presidential Memorandum on National Security on Strengthening the United States’ Policy toward Cuba.”providing for the elimination of individual “people to people” educational exchanges and greater control of US travelers to Cuba, as well as the prohibition of economic, commercial and financial transactions of US companies with Cuban companies linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces and intelligence and security services. The US president justified this policy with alleged concerns about the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously apply the laws of the blockade, conditioning its lifting, as well as any improvement in bilateral relations, to Cuba making inherent changes to its constitutional order.

Trump also repealed the Presidential Policy Directive “Normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba,” issued by President Obama on October 14, 2016.

Blocking Recruciation

On November 8, 2017, the State, Treasury and Commerce Departments issued new provisions and regulations to implement “coordinated actions” to intensify the blockade against Cuba, which had been announced on June 16 by Trump and incorporated into the directive titled “ Presidential Memorandum on National Security on Strengthening the United States Policy toward Cuba ” [38] .

These provisions and regulations, which came into effect on November 9, 2017, are contained in three documents:

  • List of the State Department on “Restricted Cuban Entities”.
  • Regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department, on financial transactions and travel to Cuba.
  • Regulations of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce, on the policy of licenses for exports and re-exports to Cuba.

According to Allcitycodes, the new regulations, unjustified and with great political nuance, affect businessmen in the United States, who lose business opportunities on the island, compared to their competition. At the same time, they harm the Cuban economy, both the state and private sectors.

The measures confirm the setback taking place in bilateral relations, as a result of the decisions taken by the government of President Donald Trump, and do not hide its subversive background.

The new additions were effective as of November 14, 2018 and are mainly made up of hotels located in important Cuban tourist destinations such as Havana, Varadero and keys in the central province of Villa Clara, as well as shops and shopping centers, among others [ 39] .

The list also includes five amendments to sub-entities that were already in the version of a year ago, three of these due to name changes.

As of this expansion, the list now contains some 205 Cuban entities and sub-entities restricted to North Americans, and the federal agency indicated that it would continue to update it periodically.

Diplomatic incident

On February 17, 2017, the United States Embassy in Havana and the State Department informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the alleged occurrence of incidents that affected some officials of that diplomatic headquarters and their families who had suffered loss. hearing and other health damages while working in Cuba [40] .

The Cuban authorities created an inter-institutional committee of experts to analyze the facts; they expanded and strengthened protection and security measures at headquarters, its personnel, and diplomatic residences; and they enabled new channels of direct communication between the Embassy and the Department of Diplomatic Security.

In this context, on May 23, the State Department informed the Cuban Embassy in Washington of the decision that two Cuban diplomats should leave the territory of the United States. This prompted a protest by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for this unjustified and unfounded decision.

The hypothesis of an “acoustic attack” and the use of sophisticated “sonic weapons” against US diplomats has been present since the story came to light, despite the lack of evidence and expert judgment on the impossibility of an artifact could generate the symptoms described in the reported conditions [41] .

On September 29, the State Department announced that it would withdraw more than half of the staff of the US embassy in Cuba after the “incidents” reported by diplomats [42] . Non-emergency personnel assigned to the diplomatic headquarters, as well as their families, were ordered to leave, the minimum body for emergency services and assisting US citizens remaining in Cuba.

On October 3, the State Department ordered the departure of 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States, the measure was related health incidents reported by members of the US Foreign Service in Havana [43] .

New president

The 18 of April of 2018, during the Constitutive Session of the Ninth Legislature, held at the Palace of Conventions in Havana, was elected Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, obtaining 603 votes 604 possible, the equivalent of 99.83 percent. [44] . Taking office on April 19 of the same year.

Cuba in 2017

About the author