U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce a rollback of measures implemented by Barack Obama in the countries ties with its neighbor Cuba on Friday.
The policy bans most financial transactions with a yet-unreleased list of entities associated with Cuba’s military and state security, including a conglomerate that dominates much of Cuba’s economy, such as many hotels, state-run restaurants and tour buses. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected.
Taking a tougher approach against Cuba after promising to do so during the presidential campaign, Trump will make clear that a ban on US tourism to Cuba remains in effect and his administration will beef up enforcement of travel rules under authorized categories, the officials said.
Like Rubio, they argued only a flourishing Cuban private sector would eventually lead to political change; where the two sides disagree is on how best to encourage private growth.
Politico and the Herald both obtained copies of the eight-page directive President Trump will announce Friday at Miami’s Manuel Artime Theater, and both sources report that the President is framing his decision as making true on a campaign promise he made while running for office.
Americans will still be able to visit Cuba, though they will need special visas of which enforcement will become much stricter, but they will not be able to spend any money at a business owned by a GAESA, other than a few exceptions, notably airports. Diplomatic relations, restored only two years ago, will remain intact.
If travel to Cuba is reduced, “You’d have a lot of people whose income would fall dramatically”, she said. “But whatever reduction we do see in travel is direct proof of how much the military is benefiting from the current policy”. During campaign rallies in Florida ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump consistently promised to tighten restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba. “This is a completely unnecessary step backwards for American families and businesses, the Cuban people, and US global leadership”.
“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. Nor will Cuban-Americans’ ability to make unlimited family visits and remittances to Cuba be affected.
In recent days, lawmakers, travel and other companies, political and economic analysts, as well as human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have urged Trump not to back down in their approach to Cuba.
White House aides, speaking on condition of anonymity Thursday, revealed some of the policy changes Trump plans to announce during a speech in Miami on Friday.
“This is a limitation on what we did, not a reversal of what we did”, Rhodes said in an interview. Even among Cuban-Americans in South Florida, almost two-thirds want to lift the US embargo.
“We want to empower and we want to strengthen the Cuban people, without strengthening the Cuban military”, Rubio said during a Facebook live post.