Trump Threatens To ‘Terminate’ Normalized Relations With Cuba

AP

Donald Trump on Monday threatened to undo President Barack Obama’s attempts to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba unless the island nation makes reforms that are to his liking.

“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” the President-elect wrote on Twitter.

Trump offered no further explanation of the kind of reforms he would like to see, or what would prompt him to rescind Obama’s 2014 executive actions re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and lifting key economic sanctions against the country.

His recently-named chief of staff, Reince Priebus, offered some specifics in a Sunday interview on Fox News. Priebus named “repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners” as some of the key factors that “need to change” if the United States and Cuba are to have a relationship.

Trump transition communications director Jason Miller told reporters in a Monday conference call that the President-elect understands that “Cuba is a very complex topic.” In addition to the priorities Priebus stated, Miller said that Trump would focus on “the return of fugitives from American law.”

Trump’s comment comes two days after the death of Fidel Castro, which the President-elect acknowledged in a bare-bones tweet.

Soon after acknowledging the Cuban leader’s passing, Trump’s team released a statement labeling Castro a “brutal dictator” and promising to “do all it can” to support Cubans and Cuban Americans. Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother, has served as Cuba’s president since 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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