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Trump/Fidel .....what now?

Okay so most of us have noticed the big push and building of new hotels in Cuba, preparing for the big American invasion? This has happened despite serious water issues, supply shortages and lack of towels in some hotels. So now that Fidel has passed and Trump is in, what pray tell is going to happen? Please Folks peer into your crystal balls and forecast:innocent:

Sweetmystery, I haven’t got a clue. But I won’t let that keep me from guessing. :grinning:

I don’t think Fidel’s passing will have much effect. The Cuban government probably was only influenced in a minor way by Fidel since he handed things over to Raul. And whatever influence he had between then and his passing will probably continue into the future, in the sense that he will continue to represent some sort of socialist principle that will be used as a reference point.

Unfortunately, I think Trump will have more influence on the next four years of Cuba’s future. I say unfortunately, because I still believe Cuba deserves to chart their own course, but like Canada, they can’t help but be influenced by what happens in the USA. It’s like the old story of what happens if you are a mouse sleeping beside an elephant. When the elephant farts, it is going to have some effect on you.

I think Trump will keep his promise to back off on the reduced restrictions that Obama brought in. He will believe that maintaining all the parts of the embargo will make a change in Cuba, and that those changes will be good for the USA. I think that maintaining all parts of the embargo will only make Cuba more determined to follow their own ideas, and what hasn’t worked for fifty-some years will continue to not work for another four years at least.

So the surge in American visitors will disappear. The surge would probably settle down anyway, as the novelty of it all wears off. But tightening the restrictions will settle it down faster. That is likely to mean that there will be some surplus hotel capacity. Service will improve in some respects, because the system won’t be stretched so badly. Service might decline in some ways because they will be catering for the same old customers that somehow found a certain amount of backwardness quaint, and actually fun, and there will be less incentive to try harder than there would have otherwise been.

But the beaches will still be beautiful, and the Cuban people that you will meet will still be the same as they were before.

In hindsight, it seems that anybody that got their hopes up about a new era in Cuba-US relations was being overly optimistic. Because, although things seem to change in the USA every four or eight years, and most things in Cuba never seem to change. One US administration may be able to work with Cuba, but the next one won’t, and the one after that may be able to, and so on and so on…

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The one thing that I had wished Obama did / does before he leaves office is to issue an executive order is close Gitmo and give back to Cuba 100% of their island

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Cubajack
I tell ya man you have balls of steel and I love the way you have stepped up to the platter with some good insight.
I am being very selfish here but I kind of liked the way Canadians and Brits had our special piece of the pie. Yes Americans have been coming to Cuba for years, but I really do hate officially sharing:grin:
The only thing I disagree with is I don’t believe the novelty of Cuba will wear off, Cuba has a way of getting under your skin, even if you get really cheesed off and take a break; you still want to go back. Very addictive Country and most of the people have a fire and passion about them that kind of gets under your skin.

Canuks
Yes it would be nice of Obama grew a pair and gave Cuba back 100% of THEIR island; that would be just perfect.

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My opinion is … I think Cuba will stay the course and Trump will close the doors again in Cuba .

But you gotta wonder , as a business man he can’t help but see opportunities in Cuba to build hotels … but as a American politician ( if you can call him that ) he will still hate Cuba .
So …

Johnny C

My prediction is that Trump will quickly rescind many if not all of Obama’s executive orders regarding Cuba. His style, and he is already doing this with other nations, is to try to set the conditions for negotiations in what he believes is his favour. He sees Cuba as weak and will want concessions just to get things back to where they are now. Cuba will refuse to play ball and relations will be right back to where they were when Bush II was in charge. He will have few objections from the Republican-controlled House and Senate. I can see this happening within his first year. Recommitment to the US base in Guantanamo will not help matters.

I think some of the Media has made too much of the idea that Fidel’s passing will result in changes in Cuba. Fidel has not been in control of anything for several years, and yet the country remains committed to socialism. In fact, it is in their constitution.
While Raul remains president, he will continue to do things as he has now since 2008. When he retires in 2018, I expect his successor continue many of the same ideas and policies. Cuba will continue to evolve slowly, but there will not be sudden changes. If anything, Fidel’s passing may serve to strengthen the resolve of the Cuban administration to carry on with the concepts and ideals he believed in.

This is good feedback and it helps me to understand this a bit more. Now the question I have is this…If Cuba and the US do not come to some sort of positive win/win situation and they do indeed take a step backwards, then what is Cuba going to do about all the new hotels and plans for expansion? Are they just going to halt everything and or, are the prices going to go down for Canadians, Brits, Italians and other supporting European Countries?

I believe…as many of the Cubans do,that Trump will rescind the Cuban Adjustment Act and close the door to the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” law. The Cuban are so sure of this that several that I know have just crossed the boarder to the US in the last month with the last one crossing yesterday at Detroit. I am expecting several more reports and phone calls in the next month before the change. The Cubans I know are almost in a panic right now to get to Canada and Mexico and jump across the line. :fearful:
Here comes “Special Period” all over again. The only question that I have is “Who is going to be poorer for it…the Cubans or the Americans?” Personally…I would say that the Yanks have shot themselves in the foot…but the bullet hit about two feet higher. :grin::laughing:

I see Trump taking a very hard line with Cuba and putting the economic squeeze back on. One downside to that could be a new wave of immigration and I agree with rainbow; that potential problem could be solved by rescinding the Cuban Adjustment Act and he may have the House and Senate required to get that done. It would be consistent with his stance on Immigration generally. I hate to be a pessimist but Special Period part 2 is not out of the question. This isn’t a perfect analogy but it’s reminiscent of the early 60s when the US left Castro little option than to cozy up with the USSR and later Chavez in Venezuela, another enemy of the US. Putin seems to be Trump’s new best buddy and Cuba is already cozy with China who seems to be on Trump’s hit-list. Interesting times ahead. Hope I’m proven wrong.

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It is true I personally know of one Cuban who was getting out before Trump got in and yes I do believe Trump is going to put a stop to Cubans landing in the States and getting automatic citizenship as per say. I was too afraid of talking about it on the forum in case I was messing with lives as per say. Thank-you rainbow for bringing this up.
I really appreciate these chats here, have learned so much.

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Sweets, The Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy or " automatic citizenship as per say" is actually a mean spirited law and offered only to Cubans. Intended to encourage the best to leave. Many families are split and lives have been lost chasing the golden ring. I am all for “normalized immigration” with in place support for those pursuing the dream, but also for those capable of attaining it once landed. Many are not so happy with the new life. Abolition of this policy would help Cuba in the long run.

Yes it was a brilliant way for the Americans to stick it to Cuba, but unfortunately they are taking jobs away from Americans because I don’t believe it is only “the best” that are leaving.
Families split up all the time, heck so many of the Cuban men are a classical example of this; it is like they make a child deposit and then move on to the next vessel. So it will be interesting to see if Trump puts a stop to all of this. As mentioned some Cubans were making the move before the final vote, it is like they knew Trump was getting in.
Of course they are not happy with the new life, working yourself to death is no ones dream, just a matter of survival.

one thing I have noticed for the places we tend to visit is the pricing is way high. Not certain if is because our $ is low here in Canada, but this is not unusual or if it is to get as much revenue as possible - both
Charter Companies & Cuba

Canuks
You are so correct, maybe it is all in my head, but I observed that Cuba has become all about getting ready for the Americans and to heck with us Ole faithfuls, and with that the prices have gone up. Now that there has been a change in American leadership, I am wondering if the plan will continue or, if Canadians and Brits will get some love again?

I agree with the both of you canuks and sweetmystery with the pricing. I was watching the vacation package prices out of Winnipeg to Varadero since early August to December for a trip in January, 2017.
The prices were just too much and no real deals, as compared to the other years of travel.
Unfortunately, we have booked for Negril, Jamaica and will not be going to Cuba for January.
I think there is “Love” lost by the Cubans to which the support Canadians have given and the “New Love” going to the Americanos.

I don’t think there are enough Americans booking all inclusive vacations to Cuba to effect prices, in fact I don’t believe they are even offered in the US. Package vacations are a supply and demand business and so perhaps we need to look elsewhere to explain things, like perhaps the exchange rate or an increase in demand from Canadians looking to visit Cuba before the feared American invasion.

I think many of over emphasizing out own economic importance as foreign visitors to Cuba. Let’s look at hard facts about economy and cash flow.

The elephant in the room is Venezuela, Cuba’s economic lifeline from all the doctors they rent from Cuba. Venezuela is teetering on bankruptcy with an economy that can survive only will oil, their only real source of revenue, worth over $100 a barrel and knowledgeable long term predictions are a price half that.

There are some 20,000 doctors rotating in and out of Venezuela for a 2 year mission. They receive a few hundred dollars a month in living expenses while in Venezuela then a then a multi thousand dollar payout when they return to Cuba. But I don’t see where these multi thousand dollar payouts upon return will come from in the future. It is not sitting in some escrow account. Neither Venezuela nor Cuba will have future earnings to pay for it. When those big payouts get delayed, the bottom will fall out.

While leasing out doctors is a $7-8 Billion a year industry for Cuba, tourism brings in $2.8 billion. While this is more than sugar, tobacco, medicine, and nickel exports combined, there are expenses associated with these. Estimates are that sugar, tobacco, medicine, nickel, AND tourism only end up generating $1.1 billion in net income after all expenses.

Then there is the other elephant in the room. It could involve Trump. That is the $6.6 billion in foreign remittances received directly by Cuban citizens from family and friends abroad. This is $3.5 billion in cash and $3.1 billion in merchandise. And there are no offsetting expenses.

Some here may have visions of US - Cuba flights being full of happy tourists heading to Cuba. The reality is the overwhelming majority of passengers have always been and still are Cuban Americans returning home to visit family. Republic de Cuba pasaportes far out number US passports and tourist visas tucked inside. Almost everyone on the flight is speaking Spanish, checking 100 pounds of duffle bags containing clothing and merchandise, AND carrying an average of $3,200-3,500 in US $100 bills.

In fact, cash remittances from abroad are DOUBLE the total salaries of all Cuban workers. Who cares if you earn $15 or $25 a month when Uncle Luis in Miami is sending you $100 a month just to help out.

So Trump could cut back or really toughen up on enforcing the infamous 12 reasons to visit Cuba so long as he did not touch family visits and it would not have much impact on passenger loads on flights.

US investment in Cuba? Could Trump cut that back? The reality is that above the table investment is almost non-existent. While the US government loosened up the regulations, the Cuban government never did. Remember all the news about the US government approving building the tractor factory in Mariel? Did anyone notice that it never happened because the Cuban government would not approve it. And the terms of that deal were so favorable to the Cuban government that it was crazy but it was still rejected. Now there is a lot of hidden investment by US citizens in Cuba. Many of new paladars and casa particulars have silent partners of family members in the US. But Trump cannot impact those since they are already illegal.

Trump is a big proponent of foreign trade. And Cuba is a big export market for southern US agriculture who ship a major portion of chickens consumed in Cuba. And, a big export market for the US midwest who exports a lot of grain to Cuba. Cubans eat of lot of rice much of which used to come from the US. Now it comes from Vietnam simply because Vietnam is nicer to Cuba than the US. Trump knows if he got tough with Cuba that the US could lose a lot of chicken and grain exports.

So I simply cannot see where Trump can afford to do much vis-a-vis Cuba that will have a significant impact on Cuba or the US economically. Now Trump has said things in the past that did not make sense but so far he has not actually done anything. We must place reliance on the fact that he is not stupid.

Now if anyone can step back and look at the economic realities and explain why the Cuban government is making such a big deal about the US embargo and how those few anti-Cuban US politicians believe the US has some negative impact on Cuba, please let me know. I am baffled.

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Griz
I think allot of Americans are sitting back to see/read how it goes for other Americans. Kind of like that new hotel that opens up, some will jump right in for the better prices and others will wait to see how it goes after the kinks are worked out.
You have no idea the battle I had to go through to get my Husband to go to Cuba and now he looks forward to each vacation we book.

Bob,
Thank-you so very much, absolutely perfect post. I was sitting back hoping others would participate to see how this would go. I just don’t have enough insight about all of this. Being honest I hated History in School and felt what was the point of it as it already happened and as Humans we appear to make the same ole mistakes over and over again due to our nature and don’t really learn from them. Also I have tried to look at the political side of Cuba but then it ruins my fantasy of that perfect, beach resort vacation. So yes I put my head in the sand as per say or, put blind folders on.
I don’t think all Cubans are so sweet and innocent but I strongly believe they are working hard at making a better life for themselves, just like the average Canadian. Some are luckier than others and yes I do believe luck and connections have allot to do with it. You can work your a$$ off and not get ahead, perfect example would be the African slaves on plantations (pure horror what they had to endure).

I was of the mind that the Cuban government that was making a huge deal about the US embargo because of the restrictions in supplies from the US and the costs to get them from other Countries? Or, is this really an excuse on the part of the Cubans just to make an excuse when supplies are low?

How often do we hear “Sorry we no have” or, “we don’t get this here”, surely be to gawd they are not all just telling pokies and scamming? Please note that I don’t leave the resorts (may on this upcoming vacation) and being honest I don’t get involved in political discussion on holidays. When any Cuban tries to give me a sob story and I tell them about life in the “real Canada” the discussion is soon dropped and we really get looked after.

I have observed the prices going up and the big fuss and building of hotels to get ready for the Americans, so basically I am wondering how Trump is going to impact all of this. Like if he puts the blocks up again what will the Cubans do will all these buildings? Not like they can fill them as per say or, am I dead wrong about this. Personally and think Trump is a roaring lion and underneath it all is a pussy cat. But Gawd help those who have mocked and crossed him.