President-elect Donald Trump did not mince words in his statement following the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, making a serious foreign policy commitment.
The incoming president took to Twitter, warning that if Cuba is unwilling to make “a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people, and the U.S. as a whole,” that he would terminate the deal.
Top surrogates for Trump, including newly appointed administration officials, have said that the incoming administration will “absolutely” consider rolling back President Obama’s normalization of trade with the island nation.
“There’s going to have to be some movement from Cuba in order to have a relationship with the United States,” Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff, told Fox News Sunday. Cuban leaders will have to show distinct progress on “lifting repression, freeing political prisoners, opening markets and assuring religious freedom,” he said.
Following Castro’s death, the incoming president’s statements contrasted sharply with Obama’s official remarks. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him,” Obama meekly concluded. Trump was more direct in his criticism of the dictator.
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” Trump said in a statement released Saturday. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump continued.
The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in the summer of 2015 following a half century of high tension between the two nations. President Obama loosened regulations that allowed more American companies to sell their products in Cuba although the U.S. embargo on Cuba remains in place.
Cuba freed 53 political prisoners in January, 2015, as part of its deal to resume diplomatic relations with the U.S.