GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The diplomatic thaw between the U.S. and Cuba will continue under the government of Donald Trump because the Communist-ruled island is entering a period of political change, Cuban scholar Rafael Rojas said on Friday.
Rojas, who has been a visiting professor at Princeton and Columbia universities in the U.S., pointed to Cuban President Raul President Raul Castro’s statement earlier this year that he will step down in 2018.
“When the retirement of Raul Castro happens, the most probable thing is that we see these tendencies toward change intensify and probably project themselves onto the political regime,” he said during a panel discussion at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.
The death last week of Fidel Castro – Raul’s predecessor and older brother – coincides with significant economic changes on the island and against the background of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington, Rojas said.
Cuba, he said, “is reinventing its way of producing, of making its economy work and of relating with the world,” he said.
Trump, who was endorsed by leaders of the large Cuban-exile community in Florida, has said since winning the Nov. 8 election that will reverse incumbent President Barack Obama’s policy of normalization unless the Cuban government makes concessions on issues such as human rights.