November 15, 2016
Caption: In May 2016, Neuva Gerona, Cuba’s transport options were on display: a motorcycle, a truck from the 1950s, and horse and buggy.
“The statements coming out of mouths of the President-Elect and Speaker of the House indicate that Americans will no longer be able to visit Cuba after inauguration day, January 20, 2017,” said Dr. Linus Wilson, author of the new book Slow Boat to Cuba.
“Repealing controversial executive orders on day one is low hanging fruit for an incoming administration. President-elect Donald Trump can pay back his debts to the Cuban-Americans who helped him win the key state of Florida. Many older Cuban Americans oppose any normalization of relations until pre-revolution reparations are paid and the Castro’s are out of power,” said Dr. Wilson. “An American who wants to visit Cuba should seize the day and travel before inauguration day. You might have to wait another 50 years for the chance.”
“What most people don’t realize is that Obama Administration executive orders led to the sudden surge in travel between the U.S. and Cuba over the last year. They are narrow regulations that no other Presidential administration has interpreted in this way. There is absolutely no support among the majority in the House of Representative or the White House to repeal the 50-year-old embargo.”
“All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro Regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them – and that is what I will do, unless the Castro Regime meets our demands,” said Donald Trump on the stump in Florida prior to the election.
Vice President-Elect Mike Pence was even more direct when speaking to Miami voters before the November 8, 2016 election. He said “Well, let me make you a promise. When Donald Trump is president of the United States, we will repeal Obama’s executive orders on Cuba.”
“As the past two years of normalizing relations have only emboldened the regime at the expense of the Cuban people, I fully intend to maintain our embargo on Cuba,” said House Speaker (R-Wisconsin) Paul Ryan in a statement in October 2016.
“My book Slow Boat to Cuba shows that the number of US boats going to Cuba legally went up by over 9,000 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.” Dr. Wilson said. “I saw first-hand how engagement was allowing ordinary Cubans to surf the internet and learn about the outside world. Tightening the embargo would be a human disaster that has been condemned by every country in the United Nations except two.” The U.S. and Israel recently abstained in a United Nations resolution condemning the embargo.
“The embargo has failed to lead to regime change for over fifty years. It is hard to see a more ineffective policy,” Wilson said. “The only hope is that cruise ship companies and airlines such as JetBlue can successfully lobby the new administration to not roll back the relaxation of travel restrictions which started in late 2014.”
“Unfortunately, raising trade restrictions was one of Donald Trump’s core promises in the campaign. There is no more extreme trade restriction than an embargo,” said Dr. Wilson. “Trade and travel restrictions make Americans less productive and poorer. The protectionist policies proposed by President-Elect Trump are bad for the economy and will lead to lower U.S. incomes and economic stagnation. We don’t want to turn back the clock on American prosperity. I saw plenty of cars from the 1950s in Cuba. The 1950s are not the good old days. Just ask any Cuban.”
A recent Bloomberg article alleged that Trump representatives may have violated the embargo with Cuba, trying to get approval to build a golf resort in Cuba. “Since Mr. Trump has put his children in charge of his companies and his transition team, President-elect Trump may have a genuine conflict of interest on his Cuba policy. His use of the power of the presidency may favor his business ambitions on the island nation of Cuba. It does not take much imagination to see how Mr. Trump could get approvals for his golf resort or any other development by threatening to repeal the executive orders that opened up Cuba to many Americans. What assurances can the President give us that this is not leverage for more Trump company projects or pay back for rejecting his golf resort all those years ago? President Trump’s Cuba policy could be more about crony capitalism than legitimate public policy,” said Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Linus Wilson traveled to Cuba in May 2016 on his 31-foot Island Packet sailboat under a U.S. Coast Guard permit. Slow Boat to Cuba is his third book. It is set to launch on Amazon worldwide on November 21, 2016. His previous two books Slow Boat to the Bahamas and How to Sail Around the World Part-Time have been Amazon bestsellers. He earned a doctorate in financial economics from the University of Oxford in England in 2007, and has been teaching finance at the college level for over a decade. He is an Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.