Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

American Business Relations And the trip to Cuba reached its highest point in decades between 2015 and 2017. Last year, the Trump administration issued regulations to limit some, but not all, of that travel and business. In 2018, as Cuba prepares for a historic leadership change, new arrivals at the US Embassy in Havana, Interim Charge DAFair Ambassador Philip Goldberg, have taken charge of a strangely quiet mission.

Last September, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered a farewell to all non-essential US embassy personnel in Havana, cautioning in relation to possible “sound related attacks” related to hearing loss incidents and other unexplained symptoms along with some two dozen. In excess of the pot. Diplomats between November 2016 and April 2017 and again in August 2017. Since then, investigations by the FBI and the State Department have been inconclusive, and there was a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association from a team at the University of Pennsylvania, which assessed that 21 of the American diplomats noted that a cause could not be determined. is. The Journal, in its own supplementary report, can only conclude that “the similarities in 21 cases consider merit as a possible cause of a general medical, environmental or psychological event.”

When the ordered departure ends on March 4, Tillerson must decide whether to resume general staff at the embassy. The State Department believes the health incidents have ended, with two major reasons that the embassy in Havana should be eager to redraw completely: the transition to Cuba’s imminent president and rising Chinese at Hemisphere and He has his own interest in limiting Russian influence. .

In April, Raul Castro is expected to step down from the Cuban presidency. Although the 86-year-old will remain as head of the Communist Party of Cuba, it will be the first time in decades that we have not seen Fidel or Raul Castro as Cuba or head of state and government, and in view of his expressed wish By imposing tenure and age limits for positions, we are likely to take the helm of the new generation of leaders. This is a historic moment and a rare and important occasion in US-Cuban bilateral relations.

In a speech before his recent visit to the US, Tillerson pointed out that he warned against increasing Russian and Chinese engagement throughout the hemisphere: “Our region must remain vigilant against distant powers that share the fundamental shared in the region Values ​​do not reflect that. ” But how diligent will the Trump administration be in Cuba, where Russian and Chinese engagement is steadily increasing?

As of August 2017, Russian trade with Cuba was up 80 percent on the previous year, with engines, trucks, cars and, most importantly, Russian oil exported to Cuba for the first time in two decades. A Russian official predicted that the trade would reach $ 400 million in 2018, saying “we can call this period a renaissance.” Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, recently met with Raul Castro, reportedly to discuss favorable terms for continued oil shipments to Cuba, and Rosneft possibly a part of Venezuela’s PDVSA. The Sinphagos were taking in the oil refinery.

As the economic footprint of Alexandria in Cuba, China has become the island nation’s largest trading partner, with imports reaching $ 2.5 billion in 2016. Chinese exports include buses, trucks, tractors and cars, as well as telecommunications equipment for Cuba’s growing number of Wi-Fi. Hotspot. Chinese companies are participating on several Cuban hotel projects, including a planned Cuban golf resort. And with direct Beijing-Havana flights, Chinese tourist travel to Cuba rose 17 percent last year.

Meanwhile, although US trade and investment remained largely confined to agricultural exports (about $ 220 million in 2017), subject to US sanctions, the Obama administration developed extensive trade ties with Cuba, a counter to Russian and Chinese. -Wet could provide. Effect – if continued. US economic engagement in Cuba has been complicated, but not eliminated, by the Trump administration’s new sanctions policy, which imposes new limits on investment in companies associated with Cuba’s military, intelligence, and security services, primarily the tourism sector. And potentially affect future projects. Maril Development Zone.

The Trump administration has stated that it does not intend to harm American businesses engaged in the Cuban market and that grandfathering protection is included in its new sanctions policy for companies with established business affiliations in Cuba. But it is very difficult for the US Embassy to provide such general support and assistance to American companies that they would normally need in foreign markets if its lesser team is not able to build strong contacts, knowledge and influence.

If there was ever a time for the United States to have diplomatic and business contacts, knowledge and influence on an island nation 90 miles away, it would have to undergo historic changes and attract significant trade and investment from Russia and China, whose Tillerson’s imbalance is expected from the US, it is now. As the American Foreign Service Association president Barbara Stephenson put it after the embassy’s draw-down last September, “American diplomats need to stay on the field and in the game.”

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