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

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 19, 2017

But because Cuban rules requires tour groups to have government guides and use state-run tour buses, the requirement has given the Cuban government near-total control of travelers' itineraries and funneled much of their spending to state enterprises. Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" with on topics of mutual interest.

President George W. Bush cracked down on academic travel to Cuba, virtually stopping study overseas to the island, but regulations promulgated by President Obama in 2011 and 2014 opened the way for vastly expanded academic exchanges, as did the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015.

But, facing pressure from USA business and some of his fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with communist-ruled Cuba, he also will leave intact many of Obama's steps toward normalization.

A White House official said that the policies will "not target Cuban people but oppressive members of the Cuban government". "They are rejected officially today - rejected".

Trump has been a longtime critic of the Obama administration's dealings with the Castro regime. Trump cast that as a sign the US still wanted to engage with Cuba in hopes of forging "a much stronger and better path".

The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the US on a variety of subjects. Now that the two countries are talking, this is no time to stop.

Selling Cuban cigars, importing Cuban cigars and having Cuban cigars shipped to America remain illegal.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stopping short of a complete turnabout, President Donald Trump is expected Friday to announce a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of US cash to the country's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations and allowing USA airlines and cruise ships to continue service to the island. They believe that the more contact Cubans and Americans have and the more opportunities Cubans have to form entrepreneurial ventures - helped by Americans - the more pressure there will be for the political system to change on the island.

Cuban-American GOP lawmakers, Sen.

In January of 2015, Obama requested Congress to lift a number of trade restrictions which had been instated at the start of the US blockade on the Caribbean island. Details will depend on regulations to be written in coming months by the U.S. Commerce and Treasury Departments, which will be tasked with turning the presidential memorandum into policy.

For the announcement, the White House chose to have Trump speak at the Manuel Artime Theate in Miami.

Trump's new policy will ban transactions with the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A., a business controlled by the Cuban military.

He will also leave in place some other tangible changes made by his Democratic predecessor, including the resumption of direct U.S. -Cuba commercial flights, though Trump's more restrictive policy seems certain to dampen new economic ties overall.

Since then, travel to Cuba has steadily increased as Cuban-Americans and others who travel to Cuba.

And it will not limit travel by or remittances from Cuban Americans, as former President George W. Bush did - though fewer Cuban government officials will be allowed to come to the USA and receive money than under Obama.

Yet it also exposed the shortcomings in Obama's approach.

As a result, the changes - though far-reaching - appear to be less sweeping than many U.S.pro-engagement advocates had feared.

Both Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, were vocal during the 2016 campaign about plans to "reverse" the Obama administration's policies toward Cuba, which Trump referred to as a bad deal.

Since the rapprochement with the U.S., the Cuban government has repeatedly said it will hold talks on any topic the United States wants to discuss. "It puts these private businesses at an advantage, because Americans can only spend money with them, not the military monopoly".

Granma, the official organ of Cuba's Communist Party, described Trump's declarations in real-time blog coverage Friday as "a return to imperialist rhetoric and unilateral demands".

How will the Cuban government respond? The Trump administration started a Cuban policy review in February, which included several cabinet agencies that will develop regulations to enforce the White House's Cuba policy.

Commercial flights, which resumed for the first time in 50 years last summer, will still continue between the USA and Cuba.

Cuba functioned as a virtual US colony for much of the 20th century, and even reform-minded Cubans are highly sensitive to perceived USA infringements on national sovereignty.

"You'll be very happy", Trump said in September.

When asked why the administration is setting up stricter regulations on trade and travel with Cuba over human rights after visiting Saudi Arabia during Mr Trump's first official visit overseas, White House officials said that the administration plans on fighting for human rights.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties. And U.S. companies will still be allowed to support telecommunications and Internet service on the island.

Weissenstein reported from Havana and Lederman from Washington.

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