Cubans fear Trump will reverse improving ties with the island
HAVANA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The shocking electoral victory by Republican candidate, Donald Trump, who will assume the U.S. presidency early next year has impacted Cubans. Many seem skeptical of the future policy the billionaire will take towards the island, fearing he will reverse Washington's historical opening.
In every corner and bus stop of Havana, Cubans debated the major upset against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton after a controversial and scandalous campaign.
"It was the American people who decided and that is what really surprises me. After so many criticisms, offensive comments against women, blacks and Hispanics, over 55 million U.S. citizens voted for Trump and he won," Barbara Feijo, a private worker, told Xinhua.
Many Cubans now fear Trump will reverse President Barack Obama's opening-up to the island and that the few economic improvements seen since the December 2014 detente will be stripped away.
Cuba has seen a surge in tourism over the last year and hundreds of business executives from all over the world, including the U.S., have visited the island to expand commercial ties.
"Trump's victory has many interpretations regarding U.S.-Cuba ties. He can continue Obama's policy of engagement or simply eliminate what both nations have achieved in the last two years," said Carlos San Martin, a young Cuban construction worker.
The billionaire promised to reverse Obama's policy, unless Cuban president Raul Castro agrees to "more political freedom" on the island, something Havana has rejected.
Trump believes Obama's new Cuba policy is "weak" and he will seek a "better deal" that benefits Washington.
During the campaign, Clinton vowed to continue Obama's "engagement policy" towards Cuba and said the economic blockade on the island must be lifted by Congress.
"Only time will tell and hopefully everything that Trump said about reversing Washington's new policy towards Cuba was part of an electoral strategy. We all anticipate he doesn't return to a strategy that failed for over 50 years," said San Martin.
On Wednesday, the Cuban government announced the launch of five days of nationwide military exercises later this month to prepare troops to confront "a range of enemy actions."
Havana did not link the drills to Trump's U.S. presidential victory and neither has it expressed an official government position, regarding the billionaire's win at the polls.
"Trump is a businessman with great power and very radical positions regarding important U.S. foreign policy issues. We still have to see if he acts like a businessman or a political extremist regarding Cuba," Noelia Martinez, a retired Havana resident, told Xinhua.
Many believe the coming months could be vital in determining Trump's position towards the island but the news of his victory hit hard among ordinary people who see it as a return to the past.
Trump called on Americans early Wednesday to come together as a united people, and promised to reach out to voters that had not supported him.
In a nail-biting contest throughout the night, Trump was able to pull a winning margin in many of the crucial swing states, including Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, and was even able to snatch previously Democratic-leaning states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.