Trump to announce changes in Cuba policy

Trump to announce changes in Cuba policy

Blake Casey
June 16, 2017

Trump may make it much harder for Americans to score authorization for Cuba visits - like narrowing the definition of people-to-people exchange, which has ushered in quasi-touristic US excursions.

Some skeptics have argued that the policy is largely aimed at President Barack Obama, whose administration substantially loosened regulations regarding Cuba during his second term.

Already under strain from his incendiary comments about immigration, Trump's actions threaten to further inflame relations with Latin American countries; for decades, U.S. intransigence towards Cuba has been a major sticking point for relations.

"My administration's policy will be guided by key US national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people", a draft of the policy directive stated, according to Politico.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which merged with Marriott International to form the world's largest hotel chain, last year debuted the first Cuban hotel managed by a US company in almost 60 years, taking advantage of President Barack Obama's 2014 move to normalize relations with Cuba and lighten regulations enforcing the USA embargo on the island.

Another official told the Associated Press the USA embassy in Havana will remain open but trade with any Cuban entity linked to the military will be banned.

Earlier this week, Patrick Clarke covered the coming announcement with news that the majority of Americans actually support more open travel to Cuba-including 44 percent of Trump voters.

Trump will not go so far as to sever diplomatic ties with Havana or shutter the USA embassy that reopened there in 2015. Instead, he'll storm into Miami on Friday to push Cuba policy back into the Cold War.

The overall goal of the policy changes, officials said, is to "steer money away from the Cuban military and toward the Cuban people". "Prior to that, it was not clear to some if the Obama policy toward Cuba would work; today it is clear that the Obama policy toward Cuba does not", the statement noted.

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This is the wrong policy in the wrong place at the wrong time - a gift to Cuba's hard-liners, who lost their most convenient weapon of mass distraction when the last administration normalized relations.

Trump's new policy will ban transactions with the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A., a business controlled by the Cuban military. On June 12th, 2017 he said Google played a vital role in Cuba development still it is the beginning.

In January of 2015, Obama requested Congress to lift a number of trade restrictions which had been instated at the start of the USA blockade on the Caribbean island.

Much of Trump's policy appears based on S.1489, a bill proposed by Sen.

"It's a backdoor but effective way to blow normalization up", says one Miami consultant to US firms negotiating opportunities in Cuba.

The new policy will ban most USA business deals with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a sprawling conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, but make exceptions related to air and sea travel, the officials said.

"If we make it tougher on Cuba, there are other folks ready to line up and say, 'We can help you with that, '" Young said.

Trump accused Cuba of "cruel despotism" in May, vowing to support its people's hopes for democracy, which raised ironic cheers from rights supporters more used to his cozying up to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other autocratic states. They are planning to ask greater internet access and will request them to release the American fugitives who are in Cuba.