Stepping backwards is going to hurt. Big time.

trump-us-cubaA possible reversal of Obama's advances in the U.S. - Cuba relationship could spell disaster for the travel industry.

Engage Cuba, the Washington, D.C. advocacy group that supports the removal of the economic blockade against Cuba released a report that a Trump reversal of former President Obama’s policies of advancement to Cuba would cost the U.S. economy about $6.6 Billion with a loss of over 12,000 jobs.  All told, there are significant risks to a backwards move by President Trump.

Engage Cuba has estimated that travel, agriculture, shipping and manufacturing industries will be negatively effected by any reversal of Obama’s policy changes with Cuba.

American companies such as Google, General Electric, Caterpillar, American Airlines, AT&T, Fedex, IDT Corp, Sprint, JetBlue, Starwood Hotels and Resorts – the list is a long one – all negotiated deals with Cuba in good faith.

And what about the existing agreements between the United States and Cuba?  Health protocols, air and maritime search and rescue, fighting international crime, terrorism, preventing and containing oil spills, Cuban medicines and medical research?  Will all these be for nought?

And what about Americans right to travel to an island that’s been classified as the “forbidden fruit” for almost 60 years?  Already tens of thousands have visited Cuba, whether legally or illegally via third countries like Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas or Jamaica.

Adding numbers and dollar signs is useful.  In Twitter, accounts such as that Joaquin Carvajal‏ @joaquincarv91 tweeted of the significant impact of a reversal in policy for the travel industry:

Roll back expanded travel with #Cuba will cost #US airlines $512 million annually and up to 3,990 jobs in the airline industry. #UnblockCuba

and:

Eliminating cruises to #Cuba could cost #US $392.2 million. #UnblockCuba

The American Conservative website published by the American Ideas Institute is calling a possible reversal of former President Obama’s advances in the U.S. – Cuba relationship “stupid,” and that “Pretending it’s over human rights is a farce.” Twitter @amconmag:

Reversing the opening to Cuba would be a significant unforced error, but it is consistent with Trump’s determination to dismantle as much of Obama’s legacy as he can while giving his party’s hard-liners what they want. Restoring relations with the Cuban government and lifting some of the useless restrictions on travel and business were the right things to do, they were overwhelmingly popular with Americans and Cubans alike, and given time they would have benefited the people of Cuba far more than the bankrupt policy that they replaced. Undoing some or all of these measures would return the U.S. to a mindless policy of trying to punish the Cuban government while mostly just hurting the people that Washington claims to be concerned about.”

There might even be a little hypocrisy in the scenario too.  Trump himself has had the burning desire to do business with Cuba, embargo or no embargo.  In 1998, Trump’s own company spent at least $68,000 for a business trip to Cuba despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal.

Trump has already rejected the reality of climate change and global warming as seen by his very recent withdrawal from the Paris Accord. One can only hazard a guess as to what he’ll do next with Cuba.  Stay tuned to his Twitter account to find out what the next policy change on Cuba will be.

Author: The Editorial Board

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