According to Reince Priebus, President-elect Donald Trump will keep his campaign promise to get a better deal from Cuba than the 2014 deal concluded by President Barack Obama. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus said, “President-elect Trump has been pretty clear,” adding, “We’ve got to have a better deal.” Priebus is the incoming White House chief of staff for the trump administration. He spoke just a day after Cuba announced the death of dictator Fidel Castro.
"Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners — these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships," Priebus said. "There's going to have to be some movement from Cuba in order to have a relationship with the United States."
During the campaign, Trump denounced Obama’s 2014 executive action that has sought to “normalize” relations between the United States and Cuba. It has meant the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana and an easing of travel restrictions, along with a visit to Cuba by Obama himself. Little has apparently changed in Cuba itself. Human rights advocates and political dissidents continue to report arrests and oppression on the communist island.
As in other cases, Obama resorted to executive actions to circumvent the will of Congress. Anong his efforts to reduce sanctions against Cuba, Obama ended the 180-day ban on ships docking at U.S. ports after sailing from Cuba, allowed American citizens to visit Cuba for “cultural exchange,” and eased restrictions for American medical researchers to work with the Cuban counterparts. Obama visited Havana this March, thus becoming the first president since to do so since 1928.
In September, Trump said if elected he would void the deal unless Cuba met his demands. Among his requirements are “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.” Trump has said that while Obama’s deal improves Cuba’s economy, the U.S. receives nothing in return.
In the Fox News interview, Priebus said that current ruler of Cuba, Raul Castro, the brother of Fidel Castro, will have to “meet our demands” for the deal to remain. Cuba, he said, must open its economic markets and end to religious oppression and other human rights violations. “These things need to change,” said Priebus. Priebus added, “This isn’t going to be one way,” he said. “I think the president-elect has been clear on this.”
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