Following the death of longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to "terminate" the United States' recently re-established relationship with the island nation, reversing outgoing President Barack Obama's work to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations.
If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1480341726.0
Reworking relations with Cuba has been one of Obama's second-term goals. In 2015, the two countries announced the decision to reopen embassies and restore diplomatic relations after 54 years. But Trump, for his part, pledged on the campaign trail to upend Obama's decision to re-establish commercial ties with the communist country.
In a Saturday statement following Castro's death, Trump did not specifically address any decision to reverse the Obama administration's work.
"While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve," Trump's statement said.
The president-elect, however, can reverse nearly all of Obama's efforts on Cuba because they were carried out by executive order, not through Congress.
On Sunday, incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told Fox News that Trump would demand certain "changes" from the Cuban government, saying, "Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners — these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships, and that’s what President-elect Trump believes, and that’s where he’s going to head."
But Trump campaign manager-turned-adviser Kellyanne Conway contradicted Priebus, telling NBC News that "nothing is definite" regarding Trump's approach to Cuban relations.