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Cuban Policy Under the Trump Administration and the UN Resolution Vote

After 54 years of strained relations between the United States’ and Cuban governments, 2014 was a year of drastic change. [1] The trade embargo between the two countries was eased, travel was less restricted, and American tourists began traveling freely to the small island nation for the first time in decades. [2] Yet, three years later, the Trump Administration rolled these developments back. [3] Some lawyers believe that under the Trump administration, increased scrutiny of travelers and even potential random spot checks of passengers will take place. [4] The Trump Administration has outlined that tourists hoping to travel to Cuba must be traveling in groups as part of educational trips, or must fit into one of the other categories of permissible travel, which includes humanitarian trips, visiting relatives, or participating in a sports competition or cultural event. [5]

These changes have left many travelers and Cubans involved in tourism unsure of what the explicit parameters will be and how their businesses will be affected as the guidelines transition under Trump. [6]

On November 1, 2017, Nikki Haley, on behalf of the United States, voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the lifting of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, effectively reversing an abstention by Washington last year. [7] The United States abstained for the first time in twenty-four years in 2016 in an effort to normalize relations between Cuba and the US. [8]  The United States regularly voted no on similar resolutions in the past. [9] However, alleged recent “health attacks” on US diplomats in Cuba, and the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on the human rights violations of the Cuban government, have again resulted in reverting back to cooler relations. [10] [11]

While the immediate impact of this vote and the return to harsher tactics is not known, it seems doubtful that there will be much change on the island.  “Half a century of American sanctions did not promote liberty,” however there is no obvious solution or easy path to take. [12] Despite the return to more hostile relations, representatives of the Cuban government have claimed that they will “continue ‘respectful dialogue and co-operation.’" [13]  It seems that only time may tell what lies in the future for these old foes.

This post is a student blog post and in no way represents the views of the Fordham International Law Journal.