To the Editor:

The Trump administration should be pressed hard to explain how it is consistent to oppose improved relations with Cuba while promoting improved relations with Russia. Is one type of oppressive regime better than the other? For President Trump, the answer is obviously “yes.” Mr. Trump seems to hate oppressive regimes that convert private property into public goods for the benefit of the people, but he loves oppressive regimes that convert public goods into private property for the benefit of a few rich friends.

STEPHEN GILLESPIE
SAN FRANCISCO

To the Editor:

Kudos to President Trump for demanding that Cuba finally turn over a parade of criminals who have sought sanctuary on the Communist island for decades. Finally we have a titanium-spined president who isn’t afraid to use America’s military and economic might as leverage over these tin-pot dictators who under previous administrations made us the laughingstock of the world.

Like him or not, Mr. Trump’s election was a seismic game-changer for America’s foreign and domestic policy, and I believe that it would be catastrophic if we were to go back to the way it was pre-Trump.

EUGENE R. DUNN, MEDFORD, N.Y.

To the Editor:

As one of the 600,000 American tourists who visited Cuba in 2016, I can attest to the positive changes that President Barack Obama’s lifting of travel and diplomatic restrictions has had for countless ordinary Cubans. The contrast between what I observed in a previous trip to Cuba in 1978 and last year was dramatic.

The difference could be seen in the satisfaction of the elderly woman who has transformed her humble home into a B&B, the entrepreneurial energy of the 30-somethings who are building their tour guide business, and the joy in the eyes of a young gay couple now free to pursue their dreams openly. Fidel Castro has died, his brother Raúl is to retire in 2018, and a more pragmatic successor is in the wings.

Problems remain, including a state-dominated mass media environment, a largely noncompetitive political system, inadequate internet access, and growing inequality between Cubans who are involved in the tourist economy and those outside that booming sector. But none of these problems will be lessened by reimposing pre-Obama restrictions — quite the contrary.

WAYNE A. CORNELIUS
PORTLAND, ORE.

The writer is a past president of the Latin American Studies Association.

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