New Blow to US-Cuba Relations
US Government Further Reduces Embassy Services in Havana
HAVANA TIMES – The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday the temporary suspension of its operations in Havana, a sign of the further deteriorating US-Cuba relations.
On their website the USCIS justifies their decision due to the staff reductions at the US Embassy in Havana, which took place in September after the Trump administration’s claim that around two dozen of its diplomats had fallen seriously ill due to alleged “sonic attacks” in Havana.
The US hasn’t directly accused Cuba for the attacks but holds the Castro government responsible for not preventing them in its territory.
The USCIS gave no date for a possible resumption of services and noted that “its field office in Mexico City will assume Havana’s jurisdiction.”
36 thoughts on “New Blow to US-Cuba Relations”
I am an American and I was just there for the first time (under the support for the Cuban people category) with my wife and 21 year old son. Although it took a day or so to adjust to the differences, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have visited MExico, Bahamas, etc and perhaps with the exception of the Dutch Antilles, never felt safer in my life as a tourist. You can walk pitch black, poorly lit streets of Havana without the worry of being a victim of crime. We Americans can learn A LOT from Cubans, especially in the area of race relations. We plan to return within a couple of years. No one and done here my friend….
There is no doubt that the Cuban government had NOTHING to do with sonic attacks but it is in the interests of the Russians and Chinese that relations with the US sour. They provided the perfect excuse to Trump to shut things down. Not good.
We had a good run I suppose, all good things must come to an end! 🙁
The European tourists have decreased because they let the Americans in!!?
Haha love it, go garfield58!! Unfortunately my Cuban days are over since they let the Americans in, it was one place in the Caribbean that was guaranteed to be American free but not any more and now they’re in they act like they’re the first ones there and they’re going to solve all their problems…typical Americans!!!
Are you serious? Are you suggesting that the drop in European visitors in Cuba is owed to the increase in American tourism? Think about that…the solution by implication is to make it more difficult for Americans to visit Cuba so more Europeans will come? We tried that, didn’t we?
Enough of them to do damage to tourism. Rows of cabs and classic cars in Havana lined up waiting for very few customers. Lots of investment in small business over the past 2 years but no business. DEcember was very quiet in Havana.
I believe Obama would have signed off on more investment deals if Cuba would have allowed it. Like most everyone else they were expecting Clinton to follow Obama. At least the opening held.
I have no problem with these comments whatsoever. I suppose it shows the value of dialogue, that in the end you come to complete agreement.
Thank you for your comment. It gave me the excuse to go back and reread for myself what I already knew to be true. It was also a bittersweet reminder of how eloquent and well-spoken my former President was and especially in comparison to the “dotard” of a President I have now. In ALL of his speeches to the Cuban people, Obama reflects on his ideals for democracy and what he would like to see the Cuban people choose for themselves. These are the “prerequisites” I speak of. He is not so brutish as to refer to them as prerequisites directly, but he is very clear what future he would like to see for a free Cuban people. Here is a link to the transcript of one of his speeches that contains his visions of the Cuban people. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article67364722.html
I can’t see what more Cuba were going to get out of Obama as you suggest. I think they played their hand to their full advantage.
Trump has affected the Cuban economy by lessening the amount of American tourists visit the island. Even Moses agrees with that. But he has left the door open to reverse these things. In the end there is much interest in investing in the tourist industry in Cuba and the US won’t want to lose out to China and Russia. Ben Rhodes pretty much admits this in this clip http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-42345919/what-s-changed-in-us-cuba-relations-under-trump?intlink_from_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fc40rjmqdqnlt%2Fcuba&link_location=live-reporting-map.
Well I’ve reread everything Obama said in Cuba and can’t find anything to suggest that the things you mentioned are prerequisites for further concessions. Could you supply the actual quote and link to the source. The nearest I could find was when he said that in the long term full normalization required changes in Cuba. But then implies that those changes were mostly to allow easier access for business. But Obama also said that he welcomed the continuing dialogue and cooperation – so no sign that he considered Cuba’s response as a rejection. He also stated that the list of things he could still do to mitigate the embargo was very short and most things were down to congress whom he criticized for lack of productivity. So again no prerequisites in his mind.
Obama was was very honorable. The Cuban’s overplayed their weak hand. Trump for his part has kept the Obama deal in place with temporary disruption in embassy visa processing the biggest change. The travel restrictions are mostly cosmetic. Anyone that wants to go, can go. The big issue now is that for the value, Cuba is getting to be a tougher sell.
To lure Trump into something more than status qou, it is going to require progress by Cuba that can justify a change. Could be another 3 or 7 years waiting on next opening from Trump. He won’t extend hand for greater good as Obama did.
But all that is dependent on ports & air strips that were confiscated / Stolen by the Castro Communists. All of them could become quickly entangled in litigation ( Trafficking in Stolen Property ) stemming form Title III of the Helms Burton act waiver expires in Aug. of 2018
Stay tuned …
http://docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU03/20160211/104453/HHRG-114-JU03-20160211-SD001.pdf Foreign Claim Settlement Commission of the United States Cuban Claims Program
Certified Claimant List
Although I wouldn’t think twice about blaming and dumping on Trump, I cannot justifiably lay Daniel’s plight on Trump’s lap.
Believe it not Nick, I agree with everything you’ve just stated. Merry Christmas!
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think, and hope, the editor is refering to the sex trade comment.
Not all vacationing Europeans feel this way, only the insecure ones.
Yes he did. Reread the transcript of his last speech in Cuba.
Ok I stand corrected.
Obama never mentioned any of this as prerequisites for further concessions. And what concessions was he willing to make? You are just making it up.
Excuse me! What sweeping statements you make!
Canadians are mostly there because they love Cubans, not to mention the safety, the beaches, the culture, and yes the price!
Europeans have been going to Colombia of late. They changed their minds about Cuba as a vacation spot when they realized they would be vacationing with Americans.
Ultimately the blame is on Cuba. I assume that you were born there. I was born in the US. If I lived anywhere else on the planet, passport or not, the US recognizes my citizenship. The same is true for everyone else on the planet EXCEPT Cubans. And no, your situation does not make me happy.
Legitimizing independent media, freeing political prisoners, legalizing other political parties? Sounds clear to me….
He could not close Guantanamo either. The 50+ remaining detainees were unwanted by their countries of birth and were disqualified from being held in US Federal prisons. Also to close Gitmo requires Congressional approval.
Sorry to hear about your plight, Daniel; the ordinary people on both sides of the Florida Strait are the ones who really suffer due to the irresponsible policies of that fascist sympathizer in the White House; hopefully he won’t last long by next year. Is there any way that you can see your grandmother in a third country nearby such as Jamaica, Bahamas or Mexico? Several of my Cuban friends have done so to see their loved ones. Cuba is geographically so close to where we live but yet politically so far away.
Like you had said…we don’t need them as much as they need us. This is a good lesson for the Castro regime.
Obama couldn’t remove the embargo that is true, but he had the power to lessen some aspects and could probably have closed Guantanamo off his own bat. But politically he did as much as he felt he could.
Cuba couldn’t respond in kind because they don’t have sanctions against the US. They agreed to open embassies and cooperate on many issues. Obama didn’t make it clear the next steps to be taken were the Castros. That’s just in your mind. On Guantanamo he just said no.
Larry I think your generalization at the end of your comment is a bold face lie. It takes away from what many will consider truths above.
Actually, Cuba (and it’s tourist sector) is so mis-managed that tourist traffic will continue to fail. The level of retention (repeat visits) is extremely low, with many tourist doing the one and done. Compared to the Bahamas or even Mexico, the infrastructure is horrible, crime rates are rising with the Cuban economic failures and let’s face it, if the best food is in private facilities with questionable sanitation, how do you compete with the world class facilities that surround you? Do you believe that being hussled for money by everyone you meet including government funding it’s political elite’s comfortable life style is a draw? Yes, the beaches are beautiful, yes, it’s a historical and cultural treasure but so is every island in the Caribbean Basin-without the prison camp culture. The Canadians, Brits and Germans can have it, it seems most of them are there for the cheap sex trade anyway.
Anyways the Cuban and American people are the ones who sufer. My grandmother is dying in Cuba and I can’t visit because I can’t renew my Cuban passport and my American passport don’t work to travel to cuba ?? I hope this make everybody happy ??
I don’t know where you get the idea that the gestures of rapproachement from Obama were rejected. The change in policy was welcomed by the Cuban government and Obama was recieved with open arms in Havana. And remember agreements were signed by both sides. It’s true that there was some mutterings that Obama hadn’t gone further in regards to Guantanamo and Fidel Castro said that he still didn’t trust the US, but it was clearly stated that he was expressing his own personal view which didn’t reflect the government’s. However none of this amounts to rejection and what difference would it have made anyway. Obama wasn’t going to move any further and Trump was always going to roll back some of Obama’s changes.
Actually, don’t fool yourself, Canada ,Britain, and Germany make up 75% of the total tourists going to Cuba, they really don’t depend on the loud obnoxious American
The Castros rejected the gestures of rapprochement from Obama. They didn’t know how good they had it. Cooling relations between the US and Cuba have no effect on Americans. But without the expected jump in US tourists coming to Cuba, the Cuban economy will continue to suffer.
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