Traditionally, the visit to the United States by the minister of foreign affairs of a country would provide an opportunity for representatives of the United States business community, representatives of non-profit and other types of organizations, officials of state governments, and members of the United States Congress to meet; with at least some of those interactions publicized by either the host government or the guest; or not deliberately publicized, but reported nonetheless.
During the last week, H.E. Bruno Rodriguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, and Mrs. Josefina de la Caridad Vidal Ferreiro, the outgoing Director General of the Department of the United States at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, visited New York City and Washington DC.
On 26 September 2017, Minister Rodriguez met with The Honorable Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, in Washington DC.
On 19 September 2017, Mrs. Vidal participated in a bilateral meeting at the United States Department of State in Washington DC.
There is no published information as to meetings with representatives of the United States business community, no published information as to meetings with representatives of organizations, no published information as to meetings with officials of state governments, and no published information as to meetings with Members of Congress.
A primary component of the dearth of public engagement relating to United States companies has its roots in 2016 and flourished in 2017.
Principally, the reasons are what the Obama Administration and the Castro Administration failed to implement relating to commerce- not enough authorized by either government which created a landscape for the Trump Administration to be disruptive.
Equally consequential is no absolution by the United States Department of State as to responsibility of the government of the Republic of Cuba from sharing its knowledge about the source(s) of the health issues and/or having been proactive with a third party to render any actions harmless. The subject remains toxic for United States companies and Members of Congress.
As a result, the continuing bilateral ambiguity, which is exceedingly negative in all respects, with a specific concentration on commerce, will likely continue, unabated, at least through 24 February 2018, the retirement of H.E. General Raul Castro, President of the Republic of Cuba.
The issues relating to:
1) the health of United States nationals with diplomatic status at the United States Embassy in Havana, issues which commenced in 2016 and the undetermined response by the Obama Administration;
2) the non-publicized (either by the Trump Administration or Castro Administration) expulsion in May 2017 of two diplomats accredited to the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Washington DC; the Trump Administration uncharacteristically did not take credit in May 2017 for action not taken by the Obama Administration;
3) the continued support by the government of the Republic of Cuba for and benefits received from the government of Venezuela;
4) the continued commercial, economic and political outreach by the government of the Republic of Cuba to the People's Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Russian Federation;
5) and the pending issuance by the Trump Administration of new and revised regulations and policies for individuals and companies relating to travel to and transactions with Republic of Cuba government-operated entities;
will further negatively impact an already corrosive commercial, economic and political bilateral environment. Any expectation of changes to statutes by the United States Congress is currently illusionary.
The interest by United States companies will likely (and tragically) continue to deteriorate unless the government of the Republic of Cuba accepts significant components of the Obama Administration initiatives and does so quickly; and it might be too late for that....