14ymedio, Pedro Campos, 16 January 2017 — Raul Castro’s government, after reestablishing diplomatic relations with Washington and easing international pressures – which allowed it to renegotiate a large part of its foreign debt – did all it could to prevent the rapprochement from resulting in increased business with the United States and its internal influence in Cuba.
Many called President Obama’s policy toward the island a failure and systematically blamed the president for giving the Castro government everything in exchange for nothing.
Havana’s demands increased and hardened. The Cuban government continued to blame the “blockade” and the Cuban Adjustment Act for the country’s economic disaster and the stampede of Cuban citizens to the United States, while nothing or little was done to alleviate the internal situation, improve democratic prospects and take advantage of the possibilities offered by the Obama’s executive orders.
Few comment that the end of the “wet foot/dry foot” policy – a “gift” from Obama a few days before handing the government over to his successor – can put both Raul Castro and Donald Trump in check, because the closure of this escape valve could generate such an increase in the internal pressure within Cuba that it will destabilize the government and force it to undertake changes it has never wanted to, or confront a crisis of incalculable consequences.
The challenge would be not only for Raul Castro, but also for the new tenant in the White House, who until recently denied that Obama was born in the United States and announced an strong hand with Cuba. It will not be the outgoing president who now has to face the eventual complications generated by a pressure cooker on the verge of exploding on the southern border of the United States, who always tried to avoid the country’s intelligence with its impossible complications.
The closure of this escape valve could generate such an increase in the internal pressure within Cuba that it will destabilize the government
The person who will have to deal with this from the north – with the consequences of this decision and all its effects and who would have preferred not to have to mention it, for its undesired effects – is going to be Donald Trump and not Barack Obama.
Both the president-elect of the United States and Raul Castro are going to have to see what they can do to avoid unleashing the hitherto contained anger of the Cuban people, when hundreds of thousands of young people realize that they have no hope of improving their lives outside the system that blocks them.
Undoubtedly, the “horse’s head” would be for Trump, but the worst part could touch the government of Raul Castro in his final year, a man who did not know, did not want to, or could not, take advantage of the opportunities offered by Obama and instead offered an elegant farewell, in the mouth of his soldiers: a crown of lead for his head.
Now, the outgoing president, so attacked by Trump in his campaign and whose hand outstretched towards Raul was not equally returned, will be able to lounge comfortably in the front row to enjoy the spectacle that could be generated – and is already being generated (thousands of Cubans on the way, spread from Ecuador to Mexico, with an uncertain future) – by his final measure, which the Cuban people will end up suffering.