Trump and Obama’s “Cuban Legacy”

Khilola Sh. Ulugova – PhD student at the Department of International Relations and Russia’s Foreign Policy, MGIMO-University. 76 Prospect Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russia. E-mail:
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After the triumph of revolution in Cuba in 1959 Washington and Havana have been hostile to each other for more than half a century. Even the end of the Cold War and disintegration of the bipolar international system left intact the antagonism between the two. Only after Barack Obama came to power did normalization become possible. He admitted the failure of the policy of sanctions and declared a “new beginning” in US-Cuba relations.

There is a risk now that under the new administration of Donald Trump the efforts made before can be neutralized if the US president keeps his recent pre-election promise and cancels all the previous agreements on normalization.
The question remains open – whether Obama’s achievements in this regard will be preserved or Trump will manage to reverse the normalization policy of his predecessor. There will be either pragmatic Trump the businessman who understands the benefits of continuing Obama’s policy, or Trump the politician who will stand firm on his pre-election pledge to roll back on once promising initiative.

The article analyzes the process of normalization initiated by Obama and Castro in 2014, explains its background motivations and builds various scenarios of further development of Cuban-American relations, as well as Trump’s policy towards Cuba.

It is unlikely that the Trump administration will abandon what has already been achieved. It may entail significant political and economic costs, which is unacceptable for Trump the businessman. However, any new progressive steps towards the normalization should not be expected in the short term.

Key words: US-Cuba relations, lifting sanctions, elections, Cuban-American lobby.

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DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2017-2-53-195-207 (Read the article in PDF)