White House warns Trump over reversing policies with Cuba

RSTV Bureau
President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

The White House has warned President-elect Donald Trump after he threatened to “terminate” US’ foreign policy with Cuba, which calls for resumption of harmonious relations between both the nations. The White House warned that reversing the historic rapprochement would have “significant” diplomatic, economic and cultural costs.

On Monday, Trump threatened to put an end to the detente policy in a tweet.

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

The White House was quick to warn that there are costs involved for cancelling such an agreement with Cuba, under which the two countries not only reestablished their diplomatic relationship after decades, but also resumed flights and lifted several sanctions.

“I don’t think I’m gonna be in a position of predicting the future. I think what I’m merely highlighting and trying to underscore here in as much detail as possible, is that it’s just not as simple as one tweet might make it seem,” the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

Earnest said that reversing the policy would be “a significant economic blow” to Cubans and was “not as easy as a stroke of a pen”.

“That’s just an objective fact when you consider how the American people and US businesses have implemented this deal in a way that has provided significant benefits to the American people and provided significant benefits to the Cuban people,” he said.

“All of that would be undone by the reinstitution of a policy that has failed after having been in place for more than five decades. There are significant diplomatic, economic, cultural costs that will have to be accounted for if this policy is rolled back. This is among the many significant challenges that the incoming administration will have to carefully consider,” he added.

Only two years ago, Obama announced the beginning of normalising relations between the two countries after realising that the five-decade old policy wasn’t working.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies

File photo of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro who passed away on November 25, 2016

Incidentally, Trump’s tweet came at a time when Cuba began its week-long farewell to its former leader Fidel Castro who passed away on November 25.

Earlier, the Trump Transition Team communications director Jason Miller said though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Castro cannot be erased, the Trump Administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.

Miller added that Cuba was a very complex topic and the president-elect was aware of the nuances and complexities regarding the challenges that Ireland and the Cuban people faced.

“I’d say this has been an important issue, it will continue to be one, and to be clear, the President-elect wants to see freedom in Cuba for the Cubans and a good deal for Americans where we aren’t played for fools,” Miller said.

(With inputs from PTI)