Race to influence the president on Cuba policy heats up

With an announcement on Cuba policy by President Donald Trump apparently imminent, those for and against engagement are jockeying to get their positions before the president — even his daughter Ivanka.


There has been a flurry of letters to the president this week as Miami awaits Trump’s possible arrival Friday in the capital city of Cuban exiles to announce his recalibration of Cuba policy. Stakeholders who haven’t penned letters to the White House also are trying to make their positions known.


The letter writers range from Cuba dissidents to a group of professors concerned that a new Cuba policy could hamper scholarly research and educational exchanges with Cuba. A group of 55 Cuban female entrepreneurs also sent their letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but they addressed it to first daughter Ivanka Trump, appealing to her businesswomen to businesswoman to make sure the Obama-era opening to the island isn’t closed.



The Cuban American National Foundation hasn’t sent the administration a letter or position paper, partly because with so many unfilled positions in the Trump administration and uncertainty over who is really driving Cuban policy, “the question is who do you talk to?” said José “Pepe” Hernández, president and one of the founders of the exile organization. “It’s very confusing, really.”


But the foundation is clear about what it would like to see Trump do on Cuba: “The main thing we want is for him to reaffirm his commitment to protect civil society and opposition activists inside the island,” he said. “We are very concerned that the Castro regime is resolved to destroy the opposition this year.”

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