Trump and Cuba: A tortuous timeline

Car guy: A younger Donald Trump with his 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
   WHAT IS Donald Trump's position on Cuba? As with so many other policy questions, his record offers no clear picture:

  • Late 1998: With the mood in Washington suggesting an easing of tensions between the U.S. and Cuba, Trump Hotels and Casinos sends consultants to Havana to explore business opportunities. The $68,000 trip was in violation of the U.S. trade embargo, according to a recent Newsweek report.
  • June 5, 1999: In an op-ed piece for the Miami Herald, Trump writes that he has rejected invitations from European groups to back projects in Cuba because investing there "would directly subsidize the oppression of the Cuban people." He calls for the U.S. embargo to remain until Cuba has a change of government.
  • 2012-2013: Trump associates travel to Cuba to study potential opportunities for a golf resort, Bloomberg reports.
  • September 2015: Seeking the nomination for president, Trump breaks with most fellow Republicans by speaking in favour of normalized relations. “The concept of opening with Cuba is fine,” he says, adding, “but we should have made a better deal.”
  • October 2016: Asked by Jim Defede of CBS4 in Miami whether he would break off relations with Cuba, Trump responds: "I would do whatever you have to do to get a strong agreement. And people want an agreement, I like the idea of an agreement, but it has to be a real agreement."
  • November 2016: Trump running-mate Mike Pence says Trump would repeal President Barak Obama's executive order that removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. As well, says Pence, “We will support continuing the embargo until real political and religious freedoms are a reality for all the people of Cuba.” His comments come just days before Trump is elected president with key support from Cuban American voters in Florida.
   So, best guess: lots of tough talk, maybe a reinstatement of Cuba on the terrorism list, but an administration attuned to American business interest in the island's tasty development potential. How that will work is hard to say, but here's one thing to keep in mind. Donald Trump likes cars.


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