When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Looking back from Cuba
Looking back from Cuba

What does Donald Trump see when he looks out toward Cuba? Havana, after all, is just a few hundred miles south of the U.S. President's own coastal getaway at Mar a Lago, Florida. In Trump's eyes, is the island nation still fundamentally a Communist enemy, even though the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago? Or perhaps, he sees a potential business opportunity down the road for his hotel and resort empire? After all, critics of his first foreign trip to the Middle East are digging up a new series of potential conflicts of interest between the billionaire president and his foreign policy.

During last year's presidential campaign, Trump had characterized Barack Obama's rapprochement with Cuba a "bad deal" he would "terminate." At Friday's announcement at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami (named after one of the leaders of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion), the U.S. President, reportedly pushed by past and potentially future Republican rival, Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, undid a part of predecessor's legacy.

Although Trump's shift stops short of a complete reversal of the Obama rapprochement, it is nonetheless a return in Washington to the old hard line on Cuba. The new restrictions are expected to make the fledgling U.S. tourism and business with Cuba more difficult and expensive, a move that would hit Cuban citizens the hardest. Some have been quick to note that although the new measures are substantial, the U.S." backpedaling will likely increase the island's reliance on Russia, especially at a time when its main ally, Venezuela, seems to be collapsing into civil war.

For the Cuban Communist Party's official newspaper Granma, the "measures and the symbolism of the location signal that the White House is prepared to return to the Cold War."

There is indeed an unmistakable feeling that this move is bumping up against the flow of history, especially as Cuba is currently preparing for Raúl Castro's retirement next year. But according to Spain's El País daily, Trump's shift might actually benefit the Cuban establishment. Quoting Cuban historian Rafael Rojas, the Madrid-based daily writes that the "thaw's liberalizing tingling provoked a counter-reform inside the regime, in that conservative Communists reinforced their positions."

The chances are slim-to-nada that such a subtle analysis played any role in Trump's own calculations. Foreign policy in Washington increasingly looks like either a juicy opportunity for chest-beating and criticism of earlier presidents, or a sly effort to spread the Trump brand. As for his own historical legacy, Trump will be hoping that any connections with the Bay of Pigs will be limited to the name of today's venue.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ