- Title: Analyst says Trump rhetoric is "symbolic"
- Date: 29th November 2016
- Summary: WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) PROFESSOR PHILIP BRENNER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE, WALKING TO OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR PHILIP BRENNER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE SAYING: "I think that it's a possibility that Donald Trump's tweets and his rhetoric is symbolic. It's also possible that he'll be backed into a corner by his own rhetoric and feel compelled to do something to back it up. We don't know that, how Donald Trump operates in the real world."
- Embargoed: 14th December 2016 01:37
- Keywords: Fidel Castro Donald Trump Cuba Cubans Cuban-American
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / HAVANA, CUBA / INTERNET
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / HAVANA, CUBA / INTERNET
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0025AD0NK7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: President-elect Donald Trump threatened Monday (November 28) to "terminate" the Obama administration's efforts to normalize US-Cuba relations, leading many to question whether the incoming administration will change the course of the current rapprochement between the two countries.
"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 the deal," Trump tweeted as Cubans prepare to commemorate Fidel Castro, the communist guerrilla who led a revolution in 1959 and ruled the Caribbean island for half a century.
American University professor Philip Brenner, an expert on Cuban-U.S. relations said Fidel Castro's death will likely not impact U.S. - Cuba relations, which were made smoother due to the presence of Castro's trusted younger brother Raul, who has been in power since 2006, but he added that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is harder to read.
"Some of the things that President Trump 'elect' has said may be simply symbolic, an effort to appeal to parts of his base, but I don't think he's likely to change policy very much. There are many people who supported him who like the current policy," said Brenner.
Earlier Monday, the White House said prospects for "scrapping the deal are rather remote".
"If for no other reason than it would be extraordinarily complicated and costly, to do so," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "It also is difficult to explain if you claim that you have the best interest of the Cuban people in mind, but an overwhelming majority of Cuban citizens actually supports the policy. So again all of that is very difficult to reconcile."
Brenner said that the current policy is also good for the U.S.
"The United States benefits from a good relationship with Cuba" he said. "If President Trump chooses to denigrate Cuba, if President Trump attempts to impose his own views on Cuba then things won't work."
Brenner said all this leaves Cuba in the position of simply having to wait and see what Trump will do once he takes office.
"He has the power as president to no longer recognize Cuba. But what I think he'll do is probably not appoint an ambassador. The embassy will keep functioning. There will still be regularly contact but it will be run by a charges d'affaires, instead of by an ambassador. That will be a symbolic gesture to the Cuban American community that supported Donald Trump, the old timers, and doesn't want better relations, but on the other hand, it will allow the United States to continue to work with Cuba," he said.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also believes Trump is not likely to make any major changes in U.S. policy.
"This goes to actually something the president talked about quite a bit on his recent overseas trip, which is that there's a difference between making pronouncements as a candidate for office and actually doing the difficult work of governing. As the president described it, sometimes, all too often, reality intrudes," said Earnest.
Brenner said even if Trump wanted end the U.S. embargo against Cuba, he would need approval from Congress.
"Congress has to act because it's in the law and the president can only do so much. There are Republicans in Congress that are leading the way to end the embargo but it remains to be seen whether or not there are enough Republicans," said Brenner.
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