The White House recently announced a new policy on U.S.-Cuban relations, reversing key components of the Obama administration’s project to thaw over the decades-old embargo and normalize diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. In this episode of NACLA Radio, Helen discusses the developments with Mike Bustamante, whose article in the summer issue of the NACLA Report, Wall off Trump: Confronting the Donald Trump Era, went to press before the announcement. As Mike notes, relations with the U.S. are often overemphasized in conversations about the Cuban economy and politics on the island, and it’s key to consider the many other factors that will affect Cuba’s future.
Helen and Mike touch on how U.S. relations with Cuba may change under Trump’s new policies, as well as how Cuban American voters and politicians have impacted Trump’s stance on the island. They also discuss how the Cuban government’s attempts to promote private business growth have succeeded and fallen short, and how existing dynamics on the island and in the Cuban diaspora have affected the young private sector. Finally, how will Raúl Castro’s approaching retirement play out, and what should we keep an eye on as the situation develops?
Michael J. Bustamante is an assistant professor of history at Florida International University.