Trump Pledges to Renege on U.S.-Cuba 'Deal' Unless a Better One Is Made

The death of Fidel Castro has raised worries on the island that Trump could shut down the emerging trade and travel ties between the two countries.

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An American Airlines plane with U.S. and Cuban flags arrives in Havana's Marti International Airport, November 28, 2016.
An American Airlines plane with U.S. and Cuban flags arrives in Havana's Marti International Airport, November 28, 2016. Credit: Yamil Lage, AFP

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in a tweet on Monday he would end the United States' "deal" with Cuba unless a better one was made, reflecting his campaign pledge to reverse President Barack Obama's moves to open relations with the Cold War adversary. 

"If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal," Trump said in a Twitter post. 

Trump tweeted as Cubans prepare to commemorate Fidel Castro, the communist guerrilla leader who led a revolution in 1959 and ruled the Caribbean island for half a century. Castro died on Friday. 

On Saturday, Trump, a Republican, said in a statement that his administration would "do all it can" once he takes office on January 20 to boost freedom and prosperity for Cubans after Castro's death. 

The statement sidestepped whether Trump would follow through on a threat made late in his White House campaign to reverse Obama's diplomatic thaw with the island nation, leading some to view it as a softening from his campaign rhetoric toward the country. 

Castro's death has led some Cubans to worry that Trump will shut down the U.S.-Cuban trade and travel ties that have begun to emerge in the past two years since Obama's historic declaration.

In a first in over 50 years, the first regular commercial flight operating between the U.S. and Havana took off from Miami International Airport on Monday morning. While several American airlines have between running flights to Cuba since August, the American Airlines service was the first one from any carrier to be Havana-bound.

Some hours later, JetBlue started its own regular flight service into Cuba's capital.

Cuba has always fiercely resisted what it sees as U.S. attempts to change its internal political system but the government has stayed mostly quiet on Trump, waiting to see whether the president-elect converts his harsh rhetoric into a real policy change.