US President Donald Trump plans to roll back policies that aided collaboration between US and Cuban scientists.
On 16 June, US President Donald Trump announced that he would strengthen travel and trade restrictions against Cuba, reversing his predecessor’s attempts to normalize relations with the country. The move is a blow to scientists who hoped that former president Barack Obama’s push to relax US restrictions on Cuba would make it easier for researchers there to travel and to collaborate with colleagues in the United States.
“People feel very disappointed,” says Pedro Valdés-Sosa, vice-director of Cuba’s neuroscience research centre, CNEURO, in Havana. “They feel like we’ve all moved on beyond the cold war stage, and it isn’t good for the Cuban people. This is just politics.”
Since 1962, US companies have been banned from selling products to Cuba. Because this embargo encompasses reagents and scientific machinery that contain even a few components made in the United States, it has been difficult for Cuban scientists to acquire modern research equipment and materials.