U.S.-Cuba relations and a Biden administration

The Biden administration is expected to reverse Trump-era Cuba policies, but remains tight lipped

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to reverse many Trump administration policies when he enters office in January 2021, and at the top of his list will be restoring international relationships that the Democrat has said were destroyed with President Trump’s "America first" rhetoric.

Biden has already said he will work to reverse crippling sanctions on Iran, get the U.S. back on the table with the Paris Climate Agreement, strengthen U.S. ties to NATO and reverse the decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization.


But Biden’s plans for reversing international policies enforced under Trump are expected to extend past the massive trade agreements and national security threats, which was signaled by his nomination of Obama-era State Department official Anthony Blinken for Secretary of State.

In 2014, Blinken was pressed by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio during his confirmation hearing for deputy secretary of state, about the Obama administration’s intent to normalize ties with Cuba – a historical decision that ended a 54-year period of aggression.

"I think we share strongly an understanding -- one that you have firsthand -- of the nature of the regime," Blinken said in answer to Rubio questioning whether policy changes would be unilaterally enacted prior to Cuba meeting demands on human rights abuses.  

"I think we all believe that change, will come, has to come, and I think the question is, ‘How do we best help the Cuban people prepare for that change?'" Blinken said noting the ongoing human rights violations in 2014, along with Obama’s desire to improve democratic relations within the communist regime.

Obama’s visit to Cuba was the first time a U.S. president had visited the Caribbean nation since 1928.

But Trump reversed the Cuban-thaw and re-enforced sanctions, restricted American’s ability to visit Cuba and banned the purchase of cigars or rum.

Trump said the policy reversal was a part of his administration’s "continuing fight against communist oppression."


"The Obama-Biden administration made a weak, pathetic, one-sided deal with the Castro dictatorship that betrayed the Cuban people and enriched the communist regime, Trump said from the White House in September during a memorial for Bay of Pigs veterans. "I canceled the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime."

The speech was likely an effort to rally Cuban-American voters who were critical of Obama’s push to normalize ties with Cuba.

"We proclaim that America will never be a socialist or communist country," Trump added.

Trump was successful in rallying Cuban-American voters in Florida and won the state during the presidential election, which means Biden could face serious GOP opposition in his attempt to reverse policies enacted by his predecessor.

Although Biden made it clear on the campaign trail, he believes the best way to address human rights abuses in Cuba is not by tightening the purse strings that ultimately affect the lives of everyday Cubans, but by working with the Cuban government.


"Americans – and especially Cuban-Americans – can be our best ambassadors for freedom in Cuba," Biden said during a March interview with Americas Quarterly. "Therefore, as president, I will promptly reverse the failed Trump policies that have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights."

But despite recent reporting, Biden has remained mum on his intended Cuba policies following the election and spokesperson Ned Price told Fox News "We believe in the principle that there’s one president at a time," when asked about how Biden will handle U.S.-Cuba policies.