Donald Trump on Cuba: What His Tweets Reveal

Donald Trump on Cuba

Where’s Donald Trump on Cuba policy? In the absence of policy papers, Trump’s tweets have answers, just not the answers our reporter was looking for.

aNewDomain — Because I have a blog on the Internet in Cuba, I thought I’d take a few minutes and take a look at Donald Trump’s tweets on the matter. Maybe it would reveal what his policies toward Cuba will be. So I searched his Twitter stream for tweets with the words Cuba and Cuban in them.

Twitter returned 27 results. Only three applied to my question, but all the results were revealing. I expected more, especially given the fact that Trump has been exploring doing business in Cuba for some time. Maybe you missed this piece in Newsweek earlier this year, which suggested Trump violated the US embargo in Cuba on a related trip.

The first Trump tweet I found with the word “Cuban” in it was from 2012. In it, Trump was reacting to a Buzzfeed piece about US President Barack Obama settling on Revolution Gothic for his new typeface, a similar type style to those found in old Cuban propaganda art. Here, Trump hangs on the Communist theme:

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After the 2012 tweet about Obama and retro Cuban typefaces, Trump’s “cuban” tweets weren’t about Cuba at all, but about  Mark Cuban, the billionaire tech entrepreneur who often criticizes him.

In this one,  from May 2013, Trump brags that his own reality TV show, The Apprentice, was a bigger hit than the reality competition show Cuban appears on, Shark Tank.

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A couple of days later, Trump mused to @mikeluis93 that Mark Cuban was physically soft and couldn’t properly fill out a t-shirt. Trump’s proclivity for personal, ad hominem attacks is now widely known, thanks to the campaign, but what made him level this attack?

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In response to this, Cuban invited @mikeluis93 and Trump to the gym. Cuban has since deleted the tweet, but you can see the tweets still at TweetHoop here.

A month after that exchange, Trump wonders aloud about buying an NBA team so as to beat the team Cuban owns, the Dallas Mavericks, “on a regular basis,” before dismissing his own question with a “who cares?”

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Well, anyway, you get the idea. Trump’s been tweeting about Mark Cuban a lot more than he has about Cuba or Cuban policy.

As I said at the beginning, only a few of Trump’s tweets, as I said, had anything to do with Cuba. Two of them are really just shots at US President Barack Obama, which Trump tweeted during Obama’s historic visit to Havana back in March. Obama was the first sitting US president to visit the island since President Calvin Coolidge, back in 1928.

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Two days later, he added:

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After all my searching, it turned out only three of the tweets were what I was looking for.

In October, the thick of the campaign cycle, Trump seems to be appealing to conservative Cuban-American voters with this tweet, which promises that Trump will reverse Obama’s policy on opening up Cuba “until freedoms are restored.” It isn’t clear what freedoms he is referring to.
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The day before the election, and no doubt with an eye on that all-important Florida vote, he promised to stand with the people of Cuba — and of Venezuela, too. Venezuelan-Americans comprise are a large and growing population group in Central Florida and South Florida, in case you are wondering.

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After the election, Trump has only tweeted about Cuba (or Cubans) once. That came last week, after the Wall Street Journal and El Nuevo Herald published sourced reports that the US is pressuring Google and other American firms to get their projects going before Trump takes office in January.
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Trump’s tweets reveal more about him than about his Cuba policy.

They don’t replace positioning papers or press conferences, the latter of which Trump hasn’t held in months. But they do provide a bit of a clue as to Trump’s posture on Cuba during and after the campaign.

I suspect Trump’s hard line toward Cuba will be tempered by practical economic and political factors, but we’l see. I plan to repeat my Twitter search from time to time to see how his views evolve.

In the absence of actual information channels, Twitter provides the only window to Trump’s thinking that we have. I just hope he keeps tweeting.

 For aNewDomain, I am Larry Press.
An earlier version of this column ran on Larry Press’ blog. Read it here. 

About the author

Larry Press

Based in Los Angeles, Larry Press is a professor of information systems at California State University at Dominguez Hills and a senior editor covering tech issues here at aNewDomain.net. Check his Google+ profile to contact him or see what else he is up to: http://bit.ly/viXqr4.

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