Tougher Trump line toward Cuba delights hardliners on island


19 June, 2017

But it also reiterated "its willingness to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation".

President Donald Trump Friday announced new restrictions on travel and business with Cuba, reversing some of the relaxed new relations instituted two years ago by President Barack Obama.

Trump on Friday laid out his new Cuba policy that tightens rules on Americans travelling to Cuba and bars United States individuals and companies from doing commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the Cuban military, Efe news reported.

In response, the Cuban government late Friday said that any attempt to change the political system on the island would be destined to fail.

Trump, taking a tougher approach against Havana after promising to do so during the presidential campaign, will outline stricter enforcement of a long-time ban on Americans going to Cuba as tourists and will seek to prevent US dollars from being used to fund what the new USA administration sees as a repressive military-dominated government.

"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", Trump said in Miami. She said she would not let the new restrictions dampen her desire to explore the island further.

"I think what President Trump is doing, rolling back the policy that President Obama implemented, it's going to hurt business in Cuba", he said.

Trump's speech evoked, instead, the Cold War thinking that dominated the US government's stance toward Cuba for a half-century. He said Trump's policy may put USA national security at risk as strategic competitors move to fill the vacuum the uncoupling could create.

While tourism to Cuba is banned by USA law, the Obama administration had been allowing people to travel to Cuba as part of "people to people" educational trips for visitors, a popular classification that a White House official said was "ripe for abuse" by those looking for beach vacations.

USA companies and citizens will also be barred from doing business with any firm controlled by the Cuban military or its intelligence or security services, walling off crucial parts of the economy, including much of the tourist sector, from US access.

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"President Trump will treat the Castro regime as the malevolent dictatorship that it is", D az-Balart said. "But we sent two letters, one to the then-President Obama, who didn't even acknowledge us, and the other to Trump, who immediately accepted".

The statement reiterates Cuba's commitment to "the necessary changes that we're making now as part of the updating of our socio-economic model", but says "they will continue being decided in a sovereign way by the Cuban people". "We will enforce the embargo", the USA president said.

"I have trust in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to Cuba", said Jorge Saurez, 66, a retired physician in Little Havana. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a key player in forging the new policy, was expected to attend along with other Cuban-American lawmakers. "The Cuban people will continue deciding themselves on the changes necessary for Cuba". By this point in their presidencies, Obama had visited four times, George W. Bush 11 times and Bill Clinton twice, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who tracks presidential travel.

"Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law", he told a cheering crowd in Miami's Little Havana, the spiritual home of the Cuban- American community.

While it would take an act of Congress to lift the US embargo against Cuba, much of what Obama managed to pull off in terms of thawing relations was accomplished via executive orders, meaning Trump would in theory be able to undo many of them.

The Cuban ambassador to the United States trolled President Donald Trump Friday after Trump's announcement of rollbacks on Obama-era policies. The effect of this new policy will be strengthening the revolutionary leadership and seeing that it's right.

Trump said his actions bypassed the military and the government to help the Cuban people form businesses and pursue much better lives.

Trump's new policy will directly limit commerce with GAESA, the Cuban military's business and commerce wing.

Trump has labelled the initial deal "completely one-sided".

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