If the Obama Administration and government of Cuba had modeled for an election outcome other than a victory for Hillary Clinton, instead of President Trump visiting Miami, Florida, on 16 June 2017 to deliver a speech about his revised vision for the relationship between the United States and Cuba, he would be visiting to enjoy a round of golf.
The only reason for the Trump Administration to have a pathway to implement bilateral, and potentially multilateral impactful changes to the United States-Cuba commercial, economic and political relationship is due the lack of effort by the Obama Administration and the government of Cuba. The result has been both tragedy and irony.
If the Obama Administration and government of Cuba had modeled an outcome other than for the election of Hillary Clinton in November 2016, the landscape in Cuba created by United States companies would have been solidified; making disruption demonstrably less rhetorically and optically enticing.
Let’s remember that the Obama Administration did not permit direct correspondent banking, which would have created a straight-line payment process for exports (including services) to and imports (including services) from Cuba. The payment process remains triangular, through third countries, for no statutory reason.
Let’s remember that the Obama Administration permitted one commodity and one agricultural product to be imported for commercial use from the Republic of Cuba to the United States- coffee and charcoal. There was no statutory reason for the limitation.
Let’s remember that during the eight years of the Obama Administration, there were only two, yes two meetings to discuss the issue of the 5,913 certified claims against the government of Cuba for the expropriation of the assets of companies and individuals. Those claims were valued at US$1.9 billion but are now valued at approximately US$8 billion. The Obama Administration said the issue of the certified claimants was a “high priority.” Two meetings, not negotiations, but two meetings in two years- and there was not a second meeting scheduled after the first meeting and not a third meeting scheduled after the second meeting. That’s not how most companies define a high priority.
During 2015 and 2016, Members of Congress and advocacy organizations misused valuable days advocating for legislation that had no expectation of becoming law. They should have been focusing upon seeking further regulatory changes from the Obama Administration and used their perceived and self-marketed relationships with officials of the government of Cuba to obtain greater acceptance of Obama Administration initiatives.
Where the United States business community is today, 15 June 2017, and were it will be as of 16 June 2017, is a result of widespread misapplication of commercial, economic and political resources.