Trump rolls back Obama's policy on Cuba

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17 June, 2017

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Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Cuban leader Raul Castro were restoring diplomatic ties between their countries, arguing that a new approach was needed because the policy the us had pursued for decades had failed to democratize the island.

Trump's move, announced Friday in Miami, actually leaves in place most of the important elements of President Barack Obama's moves to open relations with the island.

In essence, the goal of any tighter restrictions is to make sure Americans are not spending money which directly benefits the Cuban Military.

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

In addition, the rules would prohibit financial transactions between US companies and Cuban businesses that are affiliated with the island's military groups and intelligence services.

Citing the lack of human rights concessions from Cuba in the detente negotiated by Obama, Mr Trump said, "It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration's bad and misguided deal with the Castro regime". The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose travelers to ordinary Cubans. 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.

"More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba", Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that President Obama's trip to Cuba last year opened the door to "scrutiny and transparency" of human rights on the island for the first time in almost 10 years. For example, Trump is maintaining and allowing to be maintained the embassies that Obama opened and allowed to be opened in Havana and Washington.

"The basic policy driver was his concern that the previous policy was enriching the Cuban military and intelligence services that contribute so much to oppression on the island, " another senior official added.

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The new policy will be made official after the Treasury and Commerce Departments finish writing the new regulation, a process that is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.

The Trump-Cuba policy redo goes down well with former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Details have yet to be finalized, but President Trump will deliver a speech Friday in Miami - the center of the Cuban-American community. Supporters expressed appreciation for Trump's emphasis on human rights in Cuba.

Lt. Col Yohanka Rodriguez said that joint efforts between Cuban and US authorities to fight drug trafficking and cybercrime will likely end, cutting short the successful sharing of intelligence that occurred under Obama-era policies.

The president has been critical of actions that meant to warm decades of icy relations with the communist island nation.

Across the way, protesters held up signs deriding Trump's decision to rollback the Obama administration's Cuba initiative. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have shown no interest in doing so.

"We will not be silenced in the face of Communist oppression any longer", Trump said.

President Trump will be in Miami Friday to unveil his new Cuba policy, which will reverse some of his predecessor's normalization measures.

The officials said that the aging Cuban government, in which Castro is due to be replaced next year by a designated successor, can return to favor with the United States by improving its human rights record, including lifting restrictions on dissent, releasing political prisoners and moving toward democracy.


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