Tillerson Signals What’s Coming in US Policy on Cuba

June 13, 2017 |

The US Secretary of State and former ESSO oil CEO, Rex Tillerson.

HAVANA TIMES – As rumors grow that Donald Trump will announce on Friday a change in Barack Obama’s policy of rapprochement with Cuba, his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, gave signs today of the possible hardening of the US position, reported dpa news.

Asked about Cuba before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said the new administration wants to maintain the rapprochement as far as possible, but put on the table the need to prevent this allows bringing money to the island through tourism and other business, that could serve as financial support to the Cuban government, which he described as “a very oppressive regime.”

The head of US diplomacy for the Trump administration spoke of a “dark side” of the effect of the normalization of relations and called for an increase in the pressure on Raul Castro’s government to achieve an advance in democratic matters by recovering the intention of the embargo on the Island, still in force but decaffeinated by Obama.

“We believe it is important that we take steps to restore the purpose of the Helms Burton legislation, which was to pressure the regime to change, and that pressure, in our view, has been largely lifted,” said Tillerson.

The secretary of state, however, avoided confirming whether Trump will make an announcement in Miami on Friday and merely said that the policy towards Cuba is still under review.

“We believe that (with the rapprochement) we have achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the Cuban regime and how it treats tits people,” said the Secretary of State, who posed the question of whether the United States has been indirectly or unwittingly granting financial support to the Castro regime.

“They have very little incentive to change,” he said, referring to the progress made in Cuba in the area of ??human rights.

Share this:

What's your opinion?

  • curt9954

    Tillerson came out with the memo that human rights won’t be an issue in countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia. Trump curtseys to the king of the most repressive country in the world, Saudi Arabia. He also invited the extrajudicial murderous thug, Duterte of the Philippines to the White House. The reason Cuba is being held to higher standards is the mistaken belief that those old demented dinasours in Miami got Trump elected. Come on and get real! Trump lost the vote in Miami Dade County by 29 percentage points! Until the Trump administration is no longer in power, I am ashamed to be an American. When the rest of the world turns against the U.S, I will be on their side.

    • Moses Patterson

      The Castro regime is a dictatorship and continues to openly violate it’s citizens human rights. That said, there does appear to be a double standard when comparing US policy with Saudi Arabia with our expectations in Cuba. The Castros have not helped themselves by ignoring Obama’s gestures toward rapprochement.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Whereas I share your dislike of the Saudi Arabia regime, I think you have in your enthusiasm to belittle the Cuban exiles in Miami made a serious error. If you paid attention to the reports in Havana Times, you would know that the Cubans in Miami include a lot of young people who fled over the years and risked their lives by doing so. They are far from old, and certainly not dinosaurs – get up to date.
      I think curt9954 that your concerns about your president are justified, but remember: OVER SIXTY MILLION AMERICANS VOTED FOR HIM ! Time to speak to your neighours!

      • CAPTCURLY

        60 Million sounds like a lot of votes, but remember the Democratic party vote gave their candidate 3.8 million more votes, a majority. The republican along with the Russian tampering gave Dumpster/Castro the Electoral vote, not the Peoples majority.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          I am not arguing CAPTCURLY that Trump(f) got more votes it was only 60 MILLION. Trump(f) was a beneficiary of your system of the Electoral Council a US peculiarity. The difficulty lies within the US Constitution, but that is for the people of the US to amend, not we others.
          Russian tampering applies to other countries in addition to the US. Putin will continue to ‘deny, deny, deny’.

  • Ryan Ross

    Yeah, that 58 years of pressure has been so effective, while the recent surge of independent, private businesses, the increasing prosperity they bring to the island, and the expanded access to the outside through the internet over the last few years after the changes Pres. Obama made is…um…much more effective at bringing benefits to the people of Cuba?

    • AnTony

      my mother just returned from her second trip in 3 months… not internet for use… Visa entry fee to the island $50… exit fee $15…. while others from Russia and Germany paid $0… that was great deal the ex president made… and the island still looks 3rd world.

  • Chuck1938

    A basic rule of life says: Doing the same and expecting a different outcome is idiotic!

    Have any of these buffoon not heard of Cuba standing up and opposing every attempt by the United States, be it invasions, terrorism, bioterrorism, economic and financial blockade, disinformation and all other man-made methods of dirty wars, without ceasing an inch?

    What can the US accomplish against Cuba with conspiracies coming out of demoralized Marco Rubio invite to dinner at the White House, evidently forgetting everything the president said about him during the campaign, but like an errand boy, was ready to grill ex-FBI chief James Comey during a hearing where the President, his National Security, Campaign Chief, Attorney General, his Sons, Son-in-Law and many more, are all accused of dubious financial dealings with Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Emirates and whoever has money?

    Cuba will suffer from Donald Trump brutal actions as they did from punitive measures implemented by Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Jesse Helms, Torricelli, Diaz-Balart’s, Ileana Ros Lethinen, Menendez and others who are scattered in numerous cemetery across Miami, while the nation will be there, repeating and being faithful to Bonifacio Byrne poem My Flag!

  • Edward Kale

    I am so sad at the thought of a regression in our Cuba policy. Here are a few random observations.
    The CubaJournal writes: “…rolling back the current U.S. policy on Cuba could cost U.S. businesses and taxpayers $6.6 billion over the course of President Trump’s first term and affect 12,295 jobs across the country.” China and Europe will benefit from our stupidity. And what about our agreements with Cuba about the drug trade and the environment?
    One of my friends just emailed: “Here the weather is terrible, today we did not have drinking water throughout the day at school due to the great drought in Cuba.” A lot of this is surely due to global warming which our great oblivious leader denies.
    It is difficult to comprehend the damage that the embargo is having on Cuba and the Cuban people. We can hope that some Republicans continue to support the Obama opening and speak out. The embargo must end.
    TruthDig gets to the real problem in it’s article “Impeach [change] the [outdated] U.S. Constitution.” Paul Street writes: “For the fifth time in history and the second in this century, the Electoral College has installed a president who failed to win the national popular vote. Donald Trump, the biggest popular vote-loser to ever inhabit the White House, is a reckless megalomaniac, racist, sexist, militarist and malignant narcissist. He’s an ecocidal climate change denier who should not be allowed anywhere near the nation’s energy policy or its nuclear codes. It’s not for nothing that even the depressing and highly unpopular “lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton polled 2.8 million more votes than he did last November.”
    I too, Curt, am ashamed to be an American, and yes, Carlyle, it is “time to speak to [our American] neighbors.” But it is also time to love our Cuban neighbors and stop puppets of hate like Rubio, Mendez and Ros-Lehtinen.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      There is no shortage of water in Cuba, but there is a lack of efficient collection systems. Particularly n July, August, September and also at other times throughout the year, fresh rainwater runs in torrents down the streets. On the other hand when it is hot and dry, water still runs down the streets from the leaking water pipes.

      I”m all in favour Edward Kale os Americans adopting a policy of ‘love thy neighbour’ but retain that love for the people of Cuba, don’t get fooled into thinking that they are synonymous with ther Castro Communist regime. The people of Cuba are by nature generous, but remember that in the case of the US, they have to overcome an awful history dating from 1823 onwards.
      The US has to overcome the attitude inherent in the Monroe Doctrine which defined both North and South America as lying within the US sphere of interest. That attitude towards its neighbours was further reflected when in 1895, the US Secretary of State wrote to Britain’s Foreign Secretary:

      “The United States is practically sovereign on this continent and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition.”

      Then in more recent times in 1996 came the Helms-Burton Act which states that any non-US company that deals economically with Cuba can be subject to legal action in the US.
      Such history Edward means that if the Cubans in particular – but other American continent countries in addition are to reciprocate love for their US neignbour, that history has to be overcome and a marked degree of modesty adopted – not an evident facet of the current elected administration of the US.

      I do not doubt the sincerity of Americans who like yourself are able to examine the faults and errors of their own successive governments. But the history is there and the US would be well advised to act as a neighbour, not as a political big brother – Cuba had its own BIG BROTHER, now deceased.

      • Edward Kale

        Well stated, Carlyle. I do love the people of Cuba! Thanks for your comments.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Edward, I should perhaps have also responded to your comment:
          “due to the excellent system of education in Cuba”.
          When at home, due to my wife’s reaonably significant role in education, I come in contact daily with teachers from kindergarten to pre-university levels. Cuban teachers are dedicated with qualifications reaching from Licentiate to Masters to Doctorate degrees. There is a shortage of about 3-5%. My tiny contribution is that I use my miniscule artistic abilities to produce explanatory illustrations to hang on classroom walls.
          Teachers however have a difficult role in that they are compelled to comply with and teach in accord with communist versions of history and instruction. As I explained above, the purpose of education in Cuba is defined in the Constitution:

          Chapter V
          Article 39
          (c) to promote the patriotic education and communist training for the new generation.

          Classrooms, corridors and exterior walls are covered in propaganda portraits of Fidel and Raul Castro and Che Guevara. Schoolbooks for kindergarten for example explain letters with ‘C’ beside a portrait of Guevara, ‘F’ with a portrait of Fidel and so on. Similarly, school books at pre-university level provide distorted history – example? – there is little mention of the American/Spanish war or of Spain’s vicious history in Cuba.
          Teachers are frustrated in that they are prohibited from explaining or discussing any form of politics other than communism.

          Parents hold a critical role, but in Cuba they can be (and sometimes are) jailed for up to three years, for instructing their own children in their own home, anything which is deemed to be contrary to communism – the CDR lurks and walls have ears.

          In short Edward, education although producing the highest level of literacy in the world (UN figures) is designed to produce conformity under the power and control of the Communist Party of Cuba.

          The difficulty it poses for the regime is that people being human, start to think for themselves and individual thought and initiative is contrary to communist ideals.

          Hope that helps!

    • Kennedy Earle Clarke

      Well spoken, well, documented, well said brother Edward. This President is hell bent on destroying the USA and the world. Looking at the USA elections of November, 2016, can this system be copied by the rest of the world? Is this true and real Democracy? The USA needs to put its house in order before it finds the time to criticize other forms of Government. I am tired of posing the question. If under Batista the dictator who was backed and supported by the USA and it oligarchs, 70% (seventy percent) of a population of 11 million (eleven million) were illiterate and from 1959-1961 those Seven Million Seven hundred thousand people could be taught to read and write, how could such a system be that horrible?

      When you teach a man or a woman to read and to write, you open up their horizons, their thinking power. How could you now enslave a person when you have caused the dark clouds of ignorance to dissipate? Will the Carlyle Mac Duffs and the Moses Patterson’s Kindly answer me this question?

      • What an interesting comment, especially that last bit. My question to you sir, is why educate a population and then forbid them to think on their own. Welcome to Cuba home of the educated silent.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Sitting in your island retreat Kennedy Earle Clark, you have obvious difficulties in keeping up with the news. But, as invited, to answer your question.

        Firstly, Batista has been dead for many years, unlike his succeeding dictator Fidel Castro who died as recently as November 2016 before his remains were taken on tour by MININT.
        The difficulty you speak of regarding education is that despite its declared purpose in the Castro communist constitution:

        “to promote the patriotic education and communist training for the new generation.”,

        it did as you say, “open up their horizons, their thinking power.”

        For a communist dictatorship, there is a major diifficulty in having citizens who think individually for it is in direct opposition to the communist creed which was so clearly defined by Dr. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara de Serna Lynch:

        “Youth should learn to think and act as a mass. It is criminal to think as an individual.”

        To read your contribution one might conclude that prior to the revolution no Cuban was literate and that all of them had to be taught to read and write. That belittles the culture and history of the Cuban people.

        I can understand that you are “tired of posing the question”, for it is in reality irrelevant, So why not quit asking?

      • Edward Kale

        Thanks brother Kennedy. Trump won’t last long. I have always been impressed by the intelligence of our Cuban friends, in large part due to the excellent system of education in Cuba.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    You curt9954 are “over here” whereas I see the position from “over there”. I know Cubans who have fled from the regime, I know young people who seek freedom from communist oppression, I know people who have risked their lives. You sit relatively speaking, as smug as a bug in a rug coomenting about what motivates people in another country. Move to Cuba, live there, talk to Cubans who are not employed in the hospitailty industry – get the reality!
    Yes, I know the difference because I know the Mexican position having had meetings with the President of their farmers union – average about 3 acres and living in poverty.
    You are endeavoring to excuse the Castro Communist regime for its oppression but you do not seek similar conditions for yourself! Yes, you Americans choose a narcisstic bully for your President, but his powers don’t begin to compare with the power and control of the dictator in Cuba, President Raul Castro Rux.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    curt9954 is using his free speech to criticize the Saudi Arabia regime (see below). He and others will soon have to take care when in Cuba, not to do so. The Castro regime is greedily seeking a financially beneficial relationship with the Saudies by encouraging the construction of a Wahabi Mosque in Havana and will be intolerant of criticism of their new ally. How does curt9954 approve that?

  • drspocks

    Readers of this web site know how many Cubans feel about political and social rights in Cuba and the need for movement on this issue. But Cubans also feel very strongly about economic and social rights.

    These twin pillars (political and economic) are recognized by most nation as the full international framework for human rights. However, the US has always taken the position that individual property rights are superior to economic and social rights. If one wishes to enjoy economic or social rights they should be pursued by the individual, not through the state.

    The United States only embraces human rights as an extension of its political agenda. This is why they can criticize Cuba, while supporting a coup in Haiti or Honduras. This is why they fund the opposition party in Venezuela, but would never tolerate the violence perpetrated by them if it were done by Americans dissatisfied with election results.

    The dilemma for Cuba is that they will never be able to increase economic development without foreign capital and the ability to do business out from under the blockade.

    How much sovereignty may have to be sacrificed to end this policy of slow starvation? That is a question only the Cubans can answer. But be clear, that the US has no interest in a democratic process. Simply ask the people of Venezuela whose last twelve elections have been certified as free and fair and still the US funded the opposition and put pressure of the OAS to ostracize that country. The US will not tolerate the Bolivarian revolution no matter how democratic its elections are.

    The US interest in Cuba is to bring it back within the economic fold reflected by the Monroe Doctrine and the US policy of economic domination that has lasted for the last 100 years. The question for Cuba is are the risks greater to do nothing, or to call the US bluff and adopt more capitalist style economic reforms?

  • Doug1943

    I never thought I would say this but … how I long to see another Richard Nixon leading the US.

    No principles at all, maybe even a little crazy, but a realist: we’ve lost in Vietnam, so get out. The Chinese Communist Party is firmly in power, so recognize them.
    And … then … whaddaya know, recognizing reality also turns out to be, from the point of view of long-term human welfare, the smart thing to do.

    No longer in the American gunsights, China and Vietnam turn away from socialism, and start to get rich.

    Getting rich means more and more people who are not state-serfs. These countries move from totalitarian to authoritarian … heading toward – slowly — being versions of Singapore. (And remember that the most rabid anti-communist LOVES Singapore.)

    Cuba, which isn’t even starting from as far back as Mao’s China was, would be recognized by a resurrected Nixon in a flash. Perhaps he would even outdo himself and offer Guantanamo back — or, better yet, offer to go partners with Cuba in turning it into a gigantic medical training centre. Why can’t we have some smart imperialism for a change?

    What an idiot Trump is.