A Yale University history professor said he hopes President Donald Trump’s policy change to restrict the flow of American dollars into Cuba will make it more difficult for the Castro dynasty to stay in power.
“Well I was born in Cuba, and I left when I was 11 years old without my parents,” Professor Carlos Eire said.
That was in the early 1960s. Later reunited with his mom, Eire has not been back to Cuba since. He was unable to attend his father’s funeral.
“I can’t go back because I’m an official enemy of the state,” he explained. “And all my books are banned in Cuba, even my scholarly books that have nothing to do with Cuba.”
Eire has long opposed any tourists visiting Cuba because the Castro regime remains in control.
“The foreigners who visit have access to all sorts of thing that are off limits to Cubans and they have freedom and rights denied to Cubans,” Eire said.
In December 2014, when President Obama was preparing to ease restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba, Eire wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post saying, “As a Cuba exile, I feel betrayed.”
“He didn’t care how long Cuba remains enslaved,” Eire said of the former president. “He just wanted to change his police to fit all his foreign policy.”
In Miami Friday, Trump announced a reversal in his predecessor’s approach to Cuba that includes limiting American trade and travel.
“American has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors, they are rejected, officially today, rejected," Trump said in front of a crowd of Cuban-Americans.
Both of Connecticut’s Democratic senators expressed concern with the announcement from the president on U.S.-Cuba relations.
“Trump’s new policies break the campaign promises he made to boost American jobs and business,” Senator Chris Murphy said. “Connecticut businesses are eager to do more business with Cuba, but now our president has made that harder. More than 50 years of embargo and isolation failed to bring about any meaningful change in Cuba or help the Cuban people. Rather than doubling down on the failed policies of the past, President Trump should build on the new course that President Obama set and recognize that diplomacy and people-to-people ties are the best way to bring democracy and prosperity to the people of Cuba.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said he wants to see how the policy change plays out, but said he hoped Cuban human rights and relations with the U.S. could improve through more “trade, visits and contacts.”
According to Eire, the past two years of U.S. engagement and increased American travel has not made life better for Cubans because the money flowing in ends up in the pockets of the military that runs the country.
“The Obama normalization circus as I like to call it is a little blip that didn’t make any difference so to speak,” Eire told NBC Connecticut. “This reversal remains to be seen what happens.”