Anya Landau French Authors Op-Ed Calling for Continued Engagement with Cuba

U.S. News & World Report has published an op-ed by Akin Gump senior policy advisor Anya Landau French looking at President Trump’s expected announcement on his policy toward Cuba and whether he will reverse former President Barack Obama’s decision to ease relations with the country.

On one hand, Landau French writes, there is a large group of Cuban exiles in South Florida who expect Mr. Trump “to make good on his campaign threat to reverse the shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba” begun by Obama. On the opposite side of the issue are the many business opportunities that lie “before the American business community, just 90 miles offshore.” Closing down these new openings, Landau French argues, could result in some prime opportunities for American companies being “snapped up by American competitors from China and Russia.”

Landau French writes that if President Trump “specifically wants to trim back the Obama policy, without materially damaging U.S. business prospects,” there are steps he can take, such as increasing enforcement of current rules or introducing a greater degree of scrutiny of travel and business activities. Cuban leaders, she said, “have never responded favorably to threats or intimidation from the United States, however well-intentioned or reasoned.”

Landau French concludes by arguing that broader economic engagement with the U.S. business community in Cuba “is key to enabling the U.S. government to have meaningful influence with Cuban leaders, whoever they may be.” Following nearly 60 years of estrangement, “trust will take time to build, and it will be built one deal at a time.”