President Barack Obama offered the carrot to Cuba by normalizing relations and calling for an end to the economic embargo. Despite the fact that Fidel Castro has finally passed beyond this mortal coil, his brother Raul is continuing the repressive ways of the communist government with savage abandon. The carrot is about to be replaced by the stick, according to the Washington Times, when Donald Trump becomes president.

President Obama was able to argue that decades of hostility and isolation had not brought Cuba to heel. The soon to be President Trump will be able to counter that the Obama policy of openness and friendly relations have not stopped Raul Castro from filling jail cells and crushing dissent.

One of the issues that Trump is expected to address is the roughly $8 billion in assets that the Cuban government stole from American businesses and individuals. The new president will have his hand out for repayment, arguing that the United States can hardly do business in Cuba if its government can just expropriate assets at will.

Another looming factor is Raul Castro’s age. He is in his eighties and therefore will likely pass on to the afterlife during Trump’s presidency. What may follow is uncertain. The new regime may be in the mood to reform because it will be in Cuba’s best interests. Or it could be a military junta jealously guarding the privileges it has gained under the Castro regime.

Either case could present a challenge for the new Trump administration.

Cuba’s communist dictatorship has seen better days. It survived for a long time as a colony of the Soviet Union, a dagger planted 90 miles from the United State. For a while, it was propped up by cheap oil from Venezuela. But that country is in the process of imploding and cannot help itself not to mention any fraternal revolutionary allies.

Cuba stands alone and is faced with a stark choice. It can follow the path it is on now and likely suffer the fate of Venezuela. Or it can make nice with Donald Trump and remake itself. There is no other way.