Donald Trump’s threat to end Cuba detente may rouse GOP opposition

President-elect Donald Trump’s threat Monday to “terminate” the U.S. detente with Cuba could trigger opposition from some Republican lawmakers and corporate leaders who favor continued engagement with Havana. Since 2014, when President Barack Obama began to normalize relations with the island, the United States has taken numerous steps to increase commercial travel, commerce and the flow of information to Cuba. On Monday, the first regularly scheduled commercial flight in more than 50 years from the US to Havana landed while passengers aboard the American Airlines jet cheered.
Following Fidel Castro’s death Friday at age 90, top aides to Trump signaled that the Cuban government must move toward enacting greater freedoms for its people and giving Americans more in return if it wants to keep the warmer U.S. ties that Obama initiated. Castro’s younger brother, 85-year-old Raul Castro, took control in 2006, and later negotiated with Obama to restore diplomatic relations.
Trump’s aides said nothing on Cuba has been decided. But Trump tweeted Monday, “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 deal.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent critic of Trump during the presidential campaign, cautioned in a statement against returning to a “get tough” policy that isolates Havana and restricts travel and business activities. Such an approach, Flake wrote over the weekend, will hurt the Cuban people and make the U.S. government “a convenient scapegoat for failed socialist policies.”
Flake, who accompanied Obama during a visit to Cuba in March, said “allowing more frequent and consequential ties between Cubans and Americans is more likely to accelerate the desired change in Cuba.”

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