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Cuba Expert Says Don't Expect Any Big Relationship Change When Joe Biden Takes Office

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Cuba dilemma has dogged every president since Dwight Eisenhower.

Former President Barack Obama made dramatic moves to reach out to the Castro regime netting little return from the Cubans. President Donald Trump rolled back those initiatives.

Those hoping that President-Elect Joe Biden's administration is ready to reinstate the Obama era relationship with Cuba are bound to be let down, according to one expert on the subject.

"There is going to be a lot of disappointment by those who supported President-Elect Biden," said John Kavulich, who runs the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.

He believes there's not much Biden will be taking in a ball game with Raul Castro as Obama did in March 2016.

Nor will you likely see American cruise ship companies docking in Cuba anytime soon, or American tourists in any significant numbers walking through historic Havana, or staying in most hotels, or eating in a good number of their restaurants.


"The Trump administration has brilliantly connected Cuba with Venezuela," said Kavulich.

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President Trump vowed to take down Nicholas Maduro. Raul Castro's military and security serve as the strategic backbone of the Maduro government in Venezuela. The country's oil props up Cuba's failing socialist economy.

"So for the Biden administration, anything you do that seems giving to Cuba, will be seen as rewarding Cuba's support of Venezuela and you don't want to go there," said Kavulich.

READ: U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council Analysis Of Relations With Cuba

The Trump administration crackdown banned Americans from patronizing anything in the island nation that was owned by companies controlled by the Cuban military

Kavulich said the policy illuminated that the "Cuban military has an outsized role in the Cuban economy primarily in the tourism market."

The Trump policy was to strangle the military's revenue stream. That policy is likely to remain with nine members of the Congress being Cuban Americans and Senator Marco Rubio likely to the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

And if there are any proposed changes?

"If it pings that this is benefitting the Cuban military, you're are going to see a lot of activity in Congress," said Kavulich.

Cuba observers say look for an increase in remittances for families on the island, adding staff to the U.S. embassy to process visas, but not the appointment of an ambassador.

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