Among the few good things Barack Obama did as president was loosening restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. Now Donald Trump is tightening them again.
On Wednesday the Trump administration released lengthy new rules, many of which are supposedly aimed at keeping Americans’ money out of the pockets of the Cuban military. The rules are granular to the point of listing specific businesses Americans may and may not patronize in Cuba.
The new rules are also confusing and puzzling. As this story notes, a Mariott hotel owned by the Cuban state is not on the banned list, while a foreign-owned competing hotel is.
Regardless of the rules, their rationale or their complexity, who the hell is Donald Trump to tell private citizens of “The Freest Country on Earth” where and how they may spend their own money, especially outside the confines of the U.S.?
Let’s stipulate that the Cuban military is a nasty outfit. It’s an arm of a Marxist state after all, and Marxism is one of the rottenest of all political ideologies. Marxism in power has proved itself to be among the cruelest and certainly the deadliest of all the statist mind-viruses to infect that subset of human beings who yearn to rule the rest of us.
(Although I reject punching people, except in cases of demonstrable and immediately necessary self-defense, those folks who are so eager to “punch a Nazi” should be as willing to “punch a Communist,” if the criterion is the depth of the historic crimes committed in an ideology’s name.)
The problem is that in a world whose surface is divided up among nearly 200 national tax farms, you can hardly make a move, especially a financial one, without having some of your money or property end up in the hands of one ruling gang or another.
“Governments” in the U.S., from the one on the Potomac on down, do many bad things. Even the good they may do — road-building is the usual go-to example for people who can’t imagine life out from under a monopolistic state — rests on extortion and force, which are bad things in my book.
And speaking of militaries, if you’re an American who pays federal taxes you’re putting money in the pockets of one that pursues illegitimate wars around the world, kills innocent people in the process and makes you less safe by giving terrorists motive to attack you at home.
Would that I could keep my money out of the hands of statist gangs wherever found, be it Washington or Havana (London, Moscow, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Raleigh, etc.)!
In a speech earlier this year, Trump called Obama’s slight opening of the door to Cuba was too much of a one-sided deal. Spokespersons in his administration suggested that in the future, although Americans would still be allowed to travel there, they would have to have an acceptable reason to do so (according to whom?). If they didn’t, they could face surveillance, fines, Treasury audits and other unpleasant consequences.
Do Trump’s supporters not smell even a whiff of irony here?
Like Cuba’s Communist dictators, Trump evidently believes the people living within the borders of a given country are national property and as such must subordinate their individual plans and choices to those of the state, as enunciated by the supreme ruler. Any who don’t are rebels and traitors who may properly be surveilled, fined, “audited,” jailed or worse. Let’s just call this “Donaldismo,” shall we?
Fidel would have understood.