Trump policies could roll back US-Cuba ties, says Mexican academic — Interview


President Donald Trump will reshape the United States' Cuba policy with a speech in Miami on Friday, reinstituting some travel restrictions to the island and seeking to block business with the country's military.

Further changes, the administration said, "will depend entirely on the Cuban government's willingness to expand the Cuban people's political freedom, respect their universal rights, and allow freedom of press as well as free and fair democratic elections".

"All 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", the Herald reported Trump as saying.

Embassies will remain open and money sent by Cubans will be unaffected.

But that apparently won't include the fees USA airlines and cruise ships have to pay Cuba.

The policy changes won't take effect immediately, so Americans with plans to travel to Cuba in the near future won't be affected.

Also not expected are any changes to USA regulations governing what items Americans can bring back from Cuba, including the rum and cigars produced by state-run enterprises.

"My administration's policy will be guided by key USA national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people", a draft of the presidential directive states, Politico reported Thursday.

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"Early reports have confirmed that on Friday, June 16, 2017 President Trump will officially announce a significant uptick in enforcement in to Cuba". Although Trump lost the Miami area to Hillary Clinton by double digits, he credits support from Cuban-Americans for helping him eke out a narrow victory statewide.

Trump will announce his plan as a human rights act, standing up to and refusing to support a communist regime that controls much of the economy and leaves only pennies on the dollar for its citizens to scrape by. It will not alter the US trade embargo, which can only be lifted by Congress.

Cuba's 1470-word statement Friday night labeled Trump a hypocrite for calling on Cuba to improve human rights, saying the US government "is threatening more limits on healthcare that would leave 23 million people without insurance. and marginalizes immigrants and refugees, particular those from Islamic countries".

In addition, Americans will need to keep strict records of every financial transaction they make in Cuba and hold onto those records for up to five years should the Treasury Department, who enforces the embargo, want to audit an individual's trip.

But the Trump administration acknowledged that some of Obama's initiatives had momentum that made reversal of the former president's opening impractical.

For almost 50 years Cuban exiles have gathered on 8th street, including Cuban-American Orlando Atienta, who said he's been visiting since he was 5 years old.

"My administration's policy will be guided by key U.S. national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people", the draft of the eight-page Presidential Policy Directive said, according to the website. Marco Rubio, both Cuban-American Republicans from South Florida. The trips were made easier by the resumption of scheduled commercial air service from the USA for the first time in decades. Rather, the administration "wants any benefits of commerce to go towards the Cuban people".

But watchdog groups such as Human Rights Watch are skeptical of a return to the terms of the half-century Cold War stand-off, with its total trade embargo and no diplomatic ties.