How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba

derechoshumanos

The Washington Post, by Daniel Morcate

How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba.

He was a tyrant whose death should be welcomed by anyone who loves liberty.

The death of a dictator, not his final memorial, is — and should be — a happy occasion for the people who have suffered his rule. It’s why no one should celebrate the life of Fidel Castro when he is finally laid to rest Sunday.

Instead, we should mark the day reminding ourselves how Castro got the better of us, freedom-loving Cubans, and understanding that his death didn’t end his reign of terror.

Because we shouldn’t kid ourselves: Castro’s departure — long awaited by those of us in the Cuban diaspora, as well as those who still live in our island homeland, even if they’re not free to express it — won’t immediately bring the liberty, democracy and respect for basic human rights that all Cubans long for. Castro’s long convalescence, along with the political indifference of several key nations to his years of brutal tyranny, have, in part, allowed his despotic regime to exist for decades. Long before his death, Castro was afforded the resources he needed to assemble a form of institutionalized self-preservation, his family dynasty, which has existed by exercising its malevolent grip over Cubans in a way that rivals the power of any autocracy known throughout history.

Castro got the better of Cubans and, even in death, is a painful reminder to us that we haven’t found a way to break free of his rule. He knew how to cunningly enlist countrymen against each other as a way of holding on to power. And he never could have succeeded without the complicity of thousands of Cubans who spied on, accused, imprisoned, tortured and killed other Cubans. To wit, as the Miami Herald reported this week, Danielo “El Sexto” Maldonado, a “detained Cuban artist who mocked Castro’s death, ‘was badly beaten’ ” by Cuban government agents, according to his family. That kind of terror is Castro’s real legacy.

Throughout his cruel reign, Castro benefited from the tacit approval of democracies: He consistently enjoyed a parade of world leaders willing to visit Havana, including three papal visits. Starting in 1991, his regime was welcomed at the Ibero-American Summit. All reminders that the world community has not learned how to defend — with firmness and effectiveness — the values it espouses and represents.

All this, despite the fact that Castro backed numerous insurgencies designed to subvert governments that he deemed representative of spurious bourgeois interests. The democrats who went only as far as timidly suggesting a free market, a multiparty approach to governance, and a free press for Cuba? Castro simply saw them as weak.

And never having been effectively held accountable for his innumerable crimes, Castro’s long tenure sent a dangerous message to other aspiring dictators, particularly within our hemisphere. He had no shortage of disciples in Latin America, among them Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, whose design on clinging to power was cut short only by his own death. Others imitated Castro, with different degrees of fealty to his model: Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa were who they were, at least in part, because of Castro’s influence. Each sliver of recognition he got from legitimate democratic and religious leaders was a symbolic slap in the face of oppressed Cubans, further encouraging imitators and propagating Castro-style oppression throughout the Caribbean and South and Central America.

If Fidel Castro’s death does not soon lead to a global campaign in favor of liberty and democracy for Cuba, the old tyrant will have scored his first posthumous victory. The United States should lead this effort, even during the last days of Barack Obama’s presidency. Western leaders, including Obama, can and should use their leverage to demand specific concessions — freeing all political prisoners, legalizing opposition parties, allowing freedom of the press — from Castro’s brother, President Raúl Castro, in return for the benefits Cuba’s regime now reaps from diplomatic engagement.

The moment is appropriate and critical because it is the only way to open a door for free expression, and to demand meaningful changes on the island that improve the lives of all Cubans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ideology. In other words, Fidel Castro’s death is not an occasion to mourn. It’s an occasion to free Cuba.

American Airlines trims Cuba schedule, cites weak demand

passengers

USA Today

American Airlines is reducing capacity to Cuba, a cutback that comes just months after U.S. carriers rushed to start regular service there amid loosening travel restrictions between the nations.

American will not drop any of its recently launched routes to Cuba, but will instead drop one of the two daily flights that it currently flies between Miami and each of the Cuban cities of Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero.

American’s schedule to Havana – which launched just this week – is not currently targeted for cutbacks. American offers four daily round-trip flights to Havana from its hub in Miami and one daily round trip from its Charlotte hub.

The reductions to the three smaller cities will hit in February, reducing American’s flight schedule to Cuba from 13 flights a day to 10.

American cited weaker-than-expected demand for the reduction, adding the decision had nothing to do with the results of the U.S. presidential election in November.

“These adjustments are part of the regular evaluation of our network,” American spokesperson Matt Miller told Air Transport World. “And the changes were loaded into our schedule the first weekend of November — before the election.”

Some airlines declined to comment on their new routes to Cuba, but Delta and Spirit each told Bloomberg News that their bookings were in line with expectations. However, Spirit spokesman Paul Berry added that carriers appear to be keeping Cuba fares as they try to fill seats.

“When fares are as low as ours, that means there’s a lot of capacity,” Berry said to Bloomberg.

When Cuba opened up to U.S. airlines earlier this year, nearly all rushed in with requests to add new service to the island — especially to Havana. Against that enthusiasm, however, some industry executives openly wondered whether demand would live up to the hype.

Without regular airline service to the island in five decades, there was little data available to carriers in trying to assess potential demand for flights to new destinations. And unlike other foreign markets, Cuba remains a unique and highly regulated place for U.S. airlines to do business.

In October, American dropped its first suggestion that Cuba flights were underperforming during a call to discuss its third-quarter earnings.

“I think everyone is struggling a little bit in terms of selling in Cuba,” Don Casey, American’s senior vice president of revenue management, said during that call. “There a lot of restrictions that are still in place that has made it difficult to sell.”

Despite those comments, American was quick to affirm its commitment to competing in Cuba.

“We’re in it for the long haul,” American CEO Doug Parker added on the same call. “This is really a new market. We’re excited to be the largest carrier there. We’re committed to Cuba and making it work.

 

USA Today: Closer look at the man advising Trump on Cuba policy

mauricio-claver-carone

USA Today

The words Fidel Castro have been fighting ones for Maurico Claver-Carone, the man helping President-elect Donald Trump craft policy on Cuba.

As a boy when he played high school football in Orlando, Claver-Carone wore his love for the island country with at least one black sock emblazoned with the Cuban flag. And when he wasn’t on the field, Claver-Carone was already making himself an expert on Cuban history and politics, and forming strong opinions about the Castro regime.

“If you ever mentioned Castro, he would go berserk,” said Ferlan Bailey, Claver-Carone’s longtime friend who graduated with him from Bishop Moore Catholic High School in 1993. “The word ‘Castro’ would just set him off. He’d be like, ‘Don’t even tell me you support Castro.’ He would talk about the people who were persecuted. He knew about the economy, he knew about everything.”

Bailey said Claver-Carone would never physically fight and preferred to dominate his opponents with wit.

“I remember one time in practice, one of the guys got heated and said, ‘We can fight right now,’” Bailey said. “And Mauricio just insulted him with his intelligence.”

Now all of the knowledge and skills Claver-Carone has honed over the years as one of the country’s leading pro-U.S. embargo hardliners will come to bear as he assumes one of the most consequential positions in his career. Last week, Trump appointed him to a key position on his transition team at the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees financial sanctions enforcement with the communist island.

Claver-Carone, who had worked in Treasury in 2003 under President George W. Bush and has been a top lobbyist and advocate on Cuba, also will be handling regular rank and file work of the department. His portfolio also likely includes policy concerning sanctions on other nations, such as Iran and Venezuela.

The Miami native, raised in Spain and Orlando, obtained his masters in international law from the Georgetown University Law Center, his law degree from The Catholic University of America’s School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Rollins College.

Now back at the Treasury Department, Claver-Carone has one job that’s perfectly suited for him: undoing President Obama’s normalization efforts with Cuba — fulfilling a campaign promise made by Trump in September in Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community.

“All the concessions that Barack Obama has granted to the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd at the James L. Knight Center. “And that, I will do, unless the Castro regime meets our demands. Not my demands. Our demands.

“Those demands are religious and political freedom for the Cuban people. And the freeing of political prisoners,” Trump said.

Those words could have come directly from Claver-Carone’s Capitol Hill Cubans blog, which the 41-year-old regularly writes for as the executive director of the Cuba Democracy Advocates, a Washington, D.C., non-profit that promotes democracy and human rights in Cuba.

Claver-Carone’s expertise on Cuba has brought him before Congress repeatedly for testimony on the subject, and he’s become a go-to source for reporters, talk shows, and even an appearance on Comedy Central.

However, Claver-Carone has not spoken to a reporter since Trump tapped him for his transition team.

Continue reading USA Today: Closer look at the man advising Trump on Cuba policy

The Fidel Castro Myth Debunked: The Death Of A Tyrant, Not A Hero

Damas3

Investor’s Business Daily

With Fidel Castro’s death at 90, the encomiums are rolling in, especially from what remains of the American Big Media. But in fact, Castro during his 58 years of dictatorship was an evil man, a communist who tortured, killed and imprisoned with no remorse, a tyrant who tore a once-beautiful country apart and sent its finest citizens into exile.

Yet, the media might as well have been going around with black arm bands following Castro’s death.

He was the “George Washington of his country,” said Jim Avila of ABC’s “Nightline.” He “will be revered” for bringing education, social services and health care to Cubans, gushed MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. CNN’s Martin Savidge hailed Castro for “racial integration.”

Elsewhere, in print, The New York Times recounted how he “dominated his country with strength and symbolism” — another way of saying he ruled through oppression and relentless propaganda.

Of course, all of these things are the kinds of lies and euphemisms used by left-leaning journalists to cover up for Castro’s many crimes against humanity. And it’s not limited to these few recent examples.

ABC’s talk-queen Barbara Walters had what amounted to a middle-aged school-girl crush on Fidel. Film maker Oliver Stone, perhaps styling himself a latter-day Hemingway, revered Fidel’s macho swagger and made a much-derided documentary about him, “Comandante.” And Michael Moore, in his film “Sicko,” swallowed Cuba’s propaganda about its health care system hook, line and sinker.

We could go on. The list is long.

What you won’t hear from any of these media mavens is that, at his death, Fidel Castro leaves a Cuba far worse off in almost every way than the one he took over in 1958.  His brother, Raul, who is 85, has been the actual power in the country since Castro fell seriously ill in 2006. Cuba has improved under him, but not much.

After taking power in 1958, the then-youthful revolutionary Fidel vowed that no Cuban mother would “shed a tear” over violence from then on. But once he consolidated power after defeating Cuba’s then-leader Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro set out on a course of extraordinary revolutionary violence.

He murdered thousands upon thousands. The late R.J. Rummel, a University of Hawaii professor who tracked mass-killings by governments around the world, estimated as many as 141,000 people were murdered by the Castro regime. And that was  just through 1987. Since then, of course, thousands more have been killed.

Genocide Watch says it “holds the Castro regime responsible for the death of thousands of people (executed and died trying to flee the regime).” Both Belgium and Castro’s homeland, Spain, have leveled genocide charges against the Jefe Maximo.

Sadly, Castro’s Cuba isn’t at all unusual for Communist regimes, as noted by Rummel. “Clearly, of all regimes, communist ones have been by far the greatest killer,” he said.

What’s especially galling is the suggestion — present in almost every story on Castro’s demise — that he took an impoverished, oppressed nation and turned it into a kind of socialist paradise, with education, social services and health care for all.

This is an utter and complete lie. But don’t take our word for it.

“One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class,” the Geneva-based International Labor Organization said in a 1957 report. “Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8 hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6%. In the U.S. the figure is 70%, in Switzerland 64%. 44% of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S.”

Remember, this is before the revolution.

Numbers taken from the most comprehensive global data base available — created by the late economist Angus Maddison — show that in 1958, real GDP per person was $2,406. At the time, that was second highest in Latin America. But by 2008, that had risen to just $3,764 a person, a mere 1.2% annual growth rate. Cuba has the worst economy in Latin America, outside Haiti and Nicaragua.

And much of that “growth” was due to massive subsidies from the former Soviet Union, which traded badly needed oil to Cuba for sugar at highly favorable exchange rates. Cuba’s growth was a mirage, although in recent years modest market based reforms have helped increase incomes for some Cubans.

Before the revolution, Cuba had the 13th-lowest infant mortality rate in the world. It was lower than France, Belgium and West Germany. Today, it ranks about 40th. That still looks respectable, until you consider how it was accomplished: Cuba has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. At the first sign of any trouble when a woman is carrying a baby, it is aborted — regardless of the parents’ wishes.

That’s why their infant mortality rate isn’t even worse.

But surely health care for all is a major accomplishment, right?

No. As has been noted in many other places, Cuba has three separate health care systems. One for paying customers from places like the U.S., who go to Cuba for discount treatments of cosmetic surgery and the like.

There’s another for Cuba’s ruling Communist elite, also a good system. This is the health care system visiting journalists are taken to see, and that they later glowingly report on.

But there’s still another system for the rest — the average Cubans. It is abysmal, and even that might understate how bad it is.

“Cubans are not even allowed to visit those (elite) facilities,” according to the Web site The Real Cuba. “Cubans who require medical attention must go to other hospitals, that lack the most minimum requirements needed to take care of their patients.”

It goes on: “In addition, most of these facilities are filthy and patients have to bring their own towels, bed sheets, pillows, or they would have to lay down on dirty bare mattresses stained with blood and other body fluids.”

As for doctors, well, they make an average of about $25 to $35 a month. Many have to work second jobs to make ends meet, using substandard equipment. Drug shortages are rife. As a result, one of Cuba’s ongoing problems is that doctors leave as soon as they can for other countries, where they can make a decent living.

The country has over 30,000 doctors working overseas officially. Why? Out of kindness? No. The Castro regime earns an estimated $2.5 billion a year in hard currency from doctors working elsewhere, which means Cuba’s poor must go without decent care or access to doctors.

As for “universal literacy,” please. Primary and secondary schools are little more than Marxist indoctrination centers, where students are taught only what the state wants them to know. That’s how they keep people quiet.

Then there’s  Cuba’s higher education, in which “universities are training centers for bureaucrats, totally disconnected from the needs of today’s world. To enter the best careers and the best universities, people must be related to the bureaucratic elites, and also demonstrate a deep ideological conviction,” notes Colombian journalist Vanesa Vallejo, of the PanAm Post, a Latin American news site.

Nor is it “free.” In fact, those who graduate from college must work for a number of years for the government at a substandard wage of $9 a month. They are in effect slave labor. As with most “free” things the socialists offer, the price is very high and nonnegotiable.

In sum, Castro took a healthy country and made it sick. Those who glorify him deserve the scorn they get for propagating such a longstanding lie.

“A less megalomaniacal ruler would have considered (Cuba’s pre-revolution economy) a golden goose landing in his lap,” wrote Humberto Fontova, a Cuban exile and author of “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.” “But Castro wrung its neck. He deliberately and methodically wrecked Latin America’s premier economy.”

How about race relations? By Cuba’s own estimates, roughly 36% of the country is black or “mixed.” Other estimates put it much higher, as high as 50%.

Nonetheless, a study five years ago by the online journal Socialism and Democracy found “black and mixed populations, on average, are concentrated in the worst housing conditions” and tend to work in lower-paying, manual-labor jobs.

We’ll save for a later date Castro’s many crimes and 58 years of silent war against the U.S.,  his allowing Soviet nuclear missiles on his soil in order to threaten the U.S., his repeated intervention in other countries, his assassinations, and his obscene theft of hundreds of millions of dollars of Cubans’ wealth to line his own pockets.

Suffice it to say, as Castro departs the scene for the last time,  he leaves a Cuba far worse off in almost every way than the one he took over in 1958.  Donald Trump, with his impeccable anti-PC skills, summed it up about right, calling Castro a “brutal dictator.”

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said in the statement. Exactly right.

Don’t believe Trump? OK, here’s Fidel’s daughter, in an interview with the Miami Herald, describing dear old dad: “When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” Alina Castro said. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant.”

Fidel’s brother, Raul, who is 85, has been the actual power in the country since Castro fell seriously ill in 2006. He’s done little better.

So, for now, though Fidel is dead, there is little hope of change. But one can hope that Cubans will one day throw off the yoke of communism and live as free human beings.

In the meantime, the American media should be deeply ashamed for lionizing and celebrating a cruel tyrant such as Fidel Castro.

Castro’s Funeral: In Lieu Of Flowers, Send Agents To Arrest The Rest Of The Dictators

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Investor’s Business Daily

A murderous tyrant died the day after Thanksgiving, but instead of giving thanks, the response from some in the civilized West has been to ignore Fidel Castro’s reign of terror and keep his propaganda alive. More than a few national leaders will even attend his funeral.

But in doing so, these “mourners” would self-identify as “leaders” who aren’t fit for the job. No honorable person would attend this barbarian’s funeral. The decent people of their countries should have every one of them arrested the moment they return home, as the local law allows.

On what charges? That would depend on the country. Certainly any government official from the U.S. who would attend should be charged with treason, an offense so serious that it is the only crime defined by the Constitution. One of its core elements is giving enemies of this country “aid and comfort.”

Of course the enemy of the U.S. in this instance is not the people of Cuba but the Castro regime that has committed some of the worst atrocities in our Hemisphere in history. Any American who would attend Castro’s funeral would be providing that regime with aid and comfort on the world stage.

The first national leader to be arrested should be Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – probably the most useful of all the idiots and certainly the most idiotic of them all. But he can’t be arrested for treason, since Canada’s treason law doesn’t apply to this case, and he might not even go anyway.

However, this witless pretender committed a crime against decency when he hailed Castro’s “dedication and love for the Cuban people.” He also called him a “remarkable” and “larger than life leader who served his people” and felt “deep sorrow” after learning of Castro’s death.

Predictably, because these points are always the last refuge of Castro apologists, Trudeau praised the “significant improvements” El Jefe made “to the education and health care of his island nation.”

Anyone who would actually believe the regime’s propaganda about near universal literacy deserves to be treated by the health care system that everyday Cubans have to endure. Halfway thinkers such as Michael Moore have promoted the Cuban health care system as a model.

And maybe it works well for a few top party members and moneyed travelers.

But the facilities the average Cuban is treated at are “filthy” clinics and hospitals where “patients have to bring their own towels, bed sheets, pillows, or they would have to lay down on dirty bare mattresses stained with blood and other body fluids.”

Rivaling Trudeau for useful idiocy is former President Carter. In a statement he said that he and wife Rosalynn shared their “sympathies with the Castro family” and remembered “fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”

It would be a surprise if Carter didn’t attend, given his love of dictators. If he goes to Havana, I suggest he just stay. Apparently it is his kind of country.

It’s unclear at this point if outgoing President Obama will travel to Castro’s funeral. Reports say he is “pondering” attending. If he goes, then he deserves the treatment that anyone who engages in treasonous behavior gets. Arrest him.

He should not be protected by the office he has shamed. Nor should Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry if either one or both is assigned to go. If they do, arrest them and their boss who gave them their orders.

If this sounds radical, remember that the political left certainly believes presidents can and should be arrested. Moveon.org even got a positive response to a petition demanding the arrests of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes.

For those who don’t believe the Castro regime to be an enemy of the U.S., consider this: Castro made an alliance with the Soviet Union, the Cold War enemy of America, and invited the belligerent communist state into our back yard.

The 1962 Cuban missile crisis that followed could have begun a nuclear war that would have claimed millions of U.S. civilian casualties. Never forget than Castro gangster Che Guevara was publicly in favor of using nuclear weapons on New York City. So was Fidel.

Naturally a snake basket of deplorable European leaders will attend. But that sort of foolishness should be expected from socialist Europeans who, as a class, are the least-sophisticated thinkers on Earth, though they try hard to position themselves as wise.

Expect Latin American despots Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela and others to also be there. And what an opportunity it could present. They could be in the same place at the same time, allowing agents from The Hague to arrest them all at once for the cruelty they’ve inflicted on the people of their countries.

In lieu of flowers, please send your oppressors to Havana where they can be scooped up and prosecuted for their crimes.

Will President Trump Force Cuba to Return Convicted Cop Killer Assata Shakur?

njpolice

TownHall

In the wake of dictator Fidel Castro’s death, President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to reverse President Obama’s executive order “normalizing” relations between the United States and Cuba.

When Obama issued the order in December 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie asked for the return of Black Panther and convicted cop killer Assata Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard. Shakur has been living in Cuba for three decades after killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973. She was convicted of murder in 1977, escaped prison and in 1984, fled to Cuba. She is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list.

“I urge you to demand the immediate return of Chesimard before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government,” Christie wrote to Obama at the time. “If, as you assert, Cuba is serious about embracing democratic principles then this action would be an essential first step.”

The Cuban government responded to Christie’s request by saying they have the right to protect politically persecuted people inside their country and refused to turn over Shakur. Obama didn’t ask for her return as part of normalization, despite requests from a number of law enforcement organizations.

Cuba said Monday that it has a right to grant asylum to U.S. fugitives, the clearest sign yet that the communist government has no intention of extraditing America’s most-wanted woman despite the warming of bilateral ties.

Chesimard was granted asylum by Fidel Castro after she escaped from the prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 during a gunbattle after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Asked if returning fugitives was open to negotiation, Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal, told The Associated Press that “every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted. … That’s a legitimate right.”
The question now becomes whether the return of Shakur will be included in Trump’s better deal for Americans when it comes to Cuba. It should be noted the United States does not have an extradition treaty with Cuba, making the task more difficult.

The Real Cuba in the News

Several newspapers, from the United Sates and other countries, have been quoting therealcuba.com  since the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The latest is the Daily Maverick, a newspaper in Johannesburg, South Africa:

A web page run by Cuban dissidents has a gallery of shocking photographs that claim to show what healthcare looks like in “the real Cuba”. Of course, such claims are equally hard to verify in a repressive communist state, and no doubt are cherry-picked to show the worst possible cases. However, in the absence of independent journalism, which is illegal in Cuba, there is no more reason to believe government propaganda, which invariably attempts to paint a glorious picture of revolution instead.”

Read the whole article here:

The Tyrant is Dead

Death of Fidel Castro May Pressure Donald Trump on Cuba Promises

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Wall Street Journal

The death of Fidel Castro is putting unexpected pressure on President-elect Donald Trump to follow through on earlier promises to reverse the recent openings to Cuba made by President Barack Obama.
While Mr. Trump could undo Mr. Obama’s efforts, which were implemented using executive authority, he could face pushback from U.S. companies now deeply invested in Cuba under the current administration’s policy. Those companies include major airlines, hotel operators and technology providers, while big U.S. phone carriers have signed roaming agreements on the island.

Mr. Trump’s top aides said Sunday that he would demand the release of political prisoners held in Cuba and push the government to allow more religious and economic freedoms. Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff, said the president-elect “absolutely” would reverse Mr. Obama’s policies if he didn’t get what he wanted from Cuba.

“We’re not going to have a unilateral deal coming from Cuba back to the United States without some changes in their government,” Mr. Priebus said Sunday on Fox News. “Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners—these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships, and that’s what president-elect Trump believes, and that’s where he’s going to head.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), a critic of Mr. Obama’s opening, said Sunday on CBS that hehopes Mr. Trump will examine Mr. Obama’s changes to U.S.-Cuba policy and consider whether they foster democracy.

Ana Rosa Quintana, an expert on Latin America at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said she hopes Mr. Trump will roll back regulations that allow U.S. companies to interact with state-run entities in Cuba.

Mr. Obama announced in December 2014 that his administration had reached a deal with Cuba to begin to normalize relations. Since then, embassies have reopened in both countries, and the U.S. has loosened trade and travel restrictions to Cuba.

Despite bipartisan support, Congress has refused to lift the economic embargo on Cuba, which administration officials have said is necessary to fully normalize relations.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to lift the embargo, said until Republican leaders allow a vote on the legislation its supporters are “stymied.”

That gives Mr. Trump broad authority to scale back U.S. relations with Cuba, said lawyers and former officials who specialize in sanctions policy.

Regulations that allow U.S. companies to deal with Cuban state-owned entities seem the most vulnerable, such as one that allows U.S. businesses to use state-owned distributors as middlemen for deliveries to the private sector, the former officials and lawyers said.

Peter Harrell, a former senior official at the State Department who worked on sanctions in the Obama administration, said he expected Mr. Trump would “pull back some of that dealing with the Cuban state while allowing travel and private enterprise to go forward.”

Another measure Mr. Trump could reverse is Mr. Obama’s decision earlier this year to allow so-called people-to-people travel to Cuba without a tour group, a move that essentially lifted the travel ban and that critics believe went too far. According to the State Department, 700,000 Americans visited Cuba in 2015, which officials said was an increase from previous years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see that rescinded,” said Robert Muse, a Washington-based lawyer who advises companies on doing business in Cuba.

Republican opponents of Mr. Obama’s Cuba policy—including Mauricio Claver-Carone, who is on Mr. Trump’s transition team at the Treasury Department—have been critical of a deal Starwood Hotels signed with the Cuban government earlier this year, under which the company is running a hotel once owned by the tourism arm of the Cuban military. Mr. Harrell said Mr. Trump might rethink that authorization or allowing similar licenses in the future.

Jeff Flaherty, a spokesman for Marriott International Inc., which now owns Starwood, said it was premature to assess what effect a Trump administration would have on its business in Cuba.

“It is too early to know precisely what it could mean for businesses that have invested in Cuba and are providing opportunities for the Cuban people, but we remain interested in being part of those conversations,” he said.

Mr. Claver-Carone didn’t respond to requests for comment.