Trump thrusts US, Cuba back toward hostile relations

Monday, 19 Jun, 2017

"To the Cuban government, I say, put an end to the abuse of dissidents, release the political prisoners, stop jailing innocent people, open yourselves to political and economic freedoms, return the fugitives from American justice, including the return of the cop killer Joanne Chesimard", Trump said, referencing the former Black Panther who was convicted of murder in 1977. The government remained willing to engage in "respectful dialogue", it said in a statement.

Mr Trump on Friday announced a plan to tighten rules on Americans travelling to communist-run Cuba and significantly restrict United States firms from doing business with Cuban enterprises controlled by the military.

Jill Welch, NAFSA (Assn. for International Education) deputy executive director for Public Policy, criticized the move, "Regressing to past travel and trade restrictions with Cuba will only pull America back into a 50-year-old failed policy of isolation with the island nation and restrict our ability to learn from one another".

Trump said he would restrict U.S. tourist visits to the island, which had increased as part of cultural exchange travel approved by Obama.

US President Donald Trump will announce his administration's changes to U.S. -Cuba policy, according to the Miami Herald.

The president announced changes to Obama-era Cuba policy, and challenged the Castro government to negotiate a better deal.

But Trump's changes, he said, would harm Cuba's growing private sector. Emmer, Crawford and five other House Republicans have warned that rolling back U.S. Cuba policy could threaten new bilateral agreements with Havana to combat human trafficking, illicit drugs and cyber crimes. He also doesn't plan to restore the so-called "wet feet, dry feet" immigration policy - repealed by Obama - that allowed Cuban migrants who reached USA soil to stay.

The Trump administration will begin strictly enforcing the authorized exemptions that allow travel between the United States and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the military and intelligence services.

Many government officials and their supporters saw the Obama policy as an attempt to lull Cuba into complacency and undermine the foundations of a communist system based in part of near-total control of virtually every aspect of society, from animal-rights groups to the film industry.

1962: Castro agrees to allow the Soviet Union to deploy nuclear missiles on the island bringing the U.S. and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war. Among them was Jos Daniel Ferrer Garc a, head of the Cuban Patriotic Union, the largest opposition group in Cuba, who was among the dissidents Obama met previous year in Cuba.

But, facing pressure from USA businesses and even some fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with Cuba, the president chose to leave intact some of his Democratic predecessor's steps toward normalisation. An increased arrival of U.S. tourists thanks to eased curbs fuelled a boom in tourism, especially in Havana, creating demand for more lodgings, restaurants, taxis and tour guides in the fledgling private sector.

Donald Trump went to Havana which is the spiritual home of the Cuba-American community. "I felt he was honest, so I came here today to see that he fulfills his promise". Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who helped craft the new regulations, said at Friday's event with Trump.

In turn, airlines and US hotel chains began investing resources in Cuba, while chicken, grain and other agricultural producers from the USA exported tons of products to Cuba.

Earlier Friday, Trump vowed to overhaul Obama's policies. He said he remains focused on finding ways to "increase trade with Cuba rather than cut off relationships that have the potential to create new jobs, bring in revenue and boost our national economy".

Trump's new policy will directly limit commerce with GAESA, the Cuban military's business and commerce wing. However, individual travel to Cuba will be stopped by the new rules.

A recent Morning Consult poll found that 65 percent of Americans support keeping the policy changes put in place since the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba began on December 17, 2014.