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Donald Trump Expected to Restrict Travel and Trade with Cuba
16 June 2017, 04:39 | Darrel Baker
Cubans fret new Trump policy will dampen tourism boom
Detailing a new National Security Presidential Memorandum, Trump is also expected to announce stricter enforcement of rules under which Americans can travel to Cuba.
The Treasury Department will have 90 days to implement these changes, according to the Miami Herald, which was briefed on Trump's planned announcement scheduled for Friday.
Mr Trump will seek a partial rollback of Obama's policies, limiting trade with businesses associated with the Cuban military-which is involved in large parts of the economy. While actual diplomatic talks may not have meant much changed between the two nations, open borders meant travel to Cuba was easier than ever before.
During a November 2 appearance in Miami, Trump told supporters, "we will cancel Obama's one-sided Cuban deal made by executive order, if we do not get the deal we want, and the deal that people living in Cuba and here deserve". Imposing new restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba is something that a majority of Cuban-Americans would frown upon.
"They know exactly what they're doing and what they're trying to do is stop travel to Cuba", said James Williams, president of a lobbying group that advocates for greater engagement with the island.
Amongst things not expected to be affected by Trump's new policy: the embassy in Havana will remain an embassy, remittances will still be allowed to be sent to Cuba and agricultural and medical business will still be allowed.
It is notable, however, that Trump's administration is taking a stand against Cuba's human rights abuses when it has made a habit of glossing over the same concerns with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.
Rubio said the changes will be a step in the right direction. "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.
Any shift in Washington's policy on its relations with Cuba would come to a dead end and have a direct impact on the progress made towards normalizing bilateral ties, a Cuban expert said Wednesday.
The theater where Trump will be making his policy speech was named after the political leader of Brigade 2506 in the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba. A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group said US visitors to Cuba could rise by as much as sevenfold by 2025.
Trump's new policy will ban transactions with the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A., a business controlled by the Cuban military.
If you needed any reminding: USA marshals arrested Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli in Coral Gables this week.
The new policy will ban most US 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.
During a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington would continue trade and ties with Cuba only if the Cuban government meets U.S. demands in the area of human rights.
Trump has long hanged his understanding of the deal between the United States and Cuba on his "Cuban friends" in Florida, whom he said throughout the campaign supported him over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
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