Big trouble in Little Havana? Newsweek says Donald Trump violated Cuba embargo in 1990s

This Newsweek story could hurt Donald Trump among hardline anti-Castro voters who are an important part of the GOP coalition in Florida.

This Newsweek story could hurt Donald Trump among hardline anti-Castro voters who are an important part of the GOP coalition in Florida.

Donald Trump has been talking tough on Cuba in recent visits to crucial Florida, hoping to woo the hardline anti-Fidel Castro Cuban-American voters who remain an important part of the GOP coalition in the state and so far have been tepid in their support for the Republican nominee.

 

Newsweek article online today says a Trump company in 1998 “secretly conducted business in communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal.” That could erode Trump’s support with Republican-leaning Cuban-American voters who were only supporting Trump by a 35-to-31 percent margin over Hillary Clinton in a recent Florida International Univeristy poll. 

 

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway dismissed the story, but didn’t dispute Newsweek’s reporting that Trump spent more than $68,000 to explore business opportunities in Cuba.

 

“Read the entire story. It starts out with a screaming headline, as it usually does, that he did business in Cuba. And it turns out that he decided not to invest there. They paid money, as I understand, in 1998 — and we’re not supposed to talk about years ago when it comes to the Clintons,” Conway said on ABC’s “The View” Thursday.

 

Trump visited Miami’s Little Havana on Wednesday to woo Cuban-Americans. And at a Sept. 16 rally in Miami, Trump vowed (beginning around the 30:00 mark on this video) to “stand with the Cuban people in their fight against communist oppression. We’re on the right side. Great people. They’re great people. The president’s one-sided deal for Cuba and with Cuba benefits only the Castro regime.”

 

A little later, Trump added: “All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them. And that I will do unless the Castro regime meets  our demands…those demands will include religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.”

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