On May 10, a tanker with a full load of Russian crude oil made its way across the Atlantic Ocean and docked in Cuba, the largest petroleum shipment from Russia to Cuba since the Cold War.
Last October, Russia’s defense minister announced Moscow was considering reopening military bases in Cuba. The Chinese are getting in on the action as well in Cuban trade. China is both Cuba’s largest trading partner and the largest holder of Cuban government debt.
Cuba has returned as a national security battleground as Russia and China increasingly engage with Havana and seek influence on an island less than 100 miles from the US mainland. But since Donald Trump took office, the US has been sitting out this dance.
However since Jan. 20, all engagement with the Cuban government has been halted as the Trump administration conducts a review of its Cuba policy, potentially rolling back the Obama-era changes and closing off all diplomatic communication with Havana.
This type of move wouldn’t just set back US policy goals with Cuba; it would also make the US less safe, allowing foreign adversaries like China and Russia to gain a foothold in our backyard and making our border less secure.
What we have seen in Havana was that the US sanctions, blocking all trade and investment with Cuba for the past 55 years, has not worked. It has failed to isolate the Cuban government, failed to regain any nationalized property and succeeded in giving an excuse to the Castro government for its failings.The embargo continues to impoverish a people who are otherwise naturally attracted to the United States.
And this failure is now repeated in US sanctions upon Russia. Its really not US sanctions as it is the Ukrainian government wall papering Washington with corruption cash to lobby US Senators and Congress to put Russia in the dog house, to the eternal joy of Kiev.
There is no Russian congressional caucus or Senate Russian caucus. But there is a Ukrainian one that pays millions, if not billions of dollars every year to extend a policy that divides peoples, cultures and nations. For proof of how well the policy works, simply travel an hour south of Miami. Cubans are happy to tell you they can live without the USA for the next 1000 years, pointing to the last 50 years of American hate visited on their shores.