Republicans Divided as Trump Reverses Some Obama Cuba Policy


Gardner said the administration's new policies mean it's up to the Cuban government to lift its own restrictions on the Cuban people before the United States further thaws relations between the two countries.

Trump yesterday was set to announce a plan to tighten rules on Americans travelling to Communist-run Cuba and significantly restrict U.S. firms from doing business with Cuban enterprises controlled by the military, White House officials said.

"Therefore, effective immediately, I am canceling the administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

Carvajal told LifeZette she thinks Trump's reversing the easing of trade and travel restrictions with the Castro regime will "pave the way for true liberty in Cuba".

He said he'd like to see the USA either close the door completely to Cuba, or open up 100 percent if it gets a good offer from the Cuban government - but he doesn't expect that to happen.

"Our policy begins with strictly enforcing USA law", Trump said during his speech in Miami, unveiling the new policy.

Mr. Trump reversed Obama's relaxed stance towards Cuba calling it a "terrible and misguided deal" and called the Cuba government a "brutal, brutal regime". "If you restrict its capacity to receive foreign investment and make global payments, the economy is sure to suffer".

The change will make it harder to travel to and do business with Cuba.

The Cuban government rebuked those statements in a lengthy response Friday, writing that Trump's executive order betrays a double standard on human rights.

Later in the day, the Cuban government criticised Donald Trump's new restrictions, but said it was willing to hold "respectful dialogue" with Washington, reported Al-Jazeera.

But he did tighten rules for Americans travelling to Cuba, ban ties with a military-run tourism firm and reaffirm the existing US trade embargo, which will be firmly enforced.

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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.

White House officials also said it's the category most ripe for abuse, with Americans using it to skirt the tourism ban. He vowed to seek a "much better deal for the Cuban people and for the U.S.".

Among those with Trump as he announced the policy in Little Havana were Sen.

"The policy isn't going to do anything new", a source from the office of one Cuban American lawmaker complained.

"President Trump's policy makes itself, once again, part of the old policy of pressure and strangulation of the Cuban people", founders Lenier Gonzalez and Roberto Veiga wrote Saturday.

In writing new rules, the Treasury Department is expected to spell out exactly what will happen to people who book trips before the new rules, but travel after their release. "Expanding U.S. commercial interests and introducing U.S. investment in Cuba should be coupled with the Cuban government's concrete and irreversible steps to ensure the democratic rights and freedoms of its people".

The changes that Trump has announced will have an impact on the Cuban economy within three months, once the new regulations are put in place.

Another major crux of Trump's Cuba policy is prohibiting any financial transactions that benefit the Cuban military's business arm, Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), in an effort to restrict the flow of money to the oppressive elements of Raúl Castro's regime.

During his speech in Miami, Trump characterized these changes as a "complete" cancellation of the Obama policy and media reports have generally echoed this significant overstatement.

Trump on Saturday flew for the first time to Camp David, the government-owned retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. Irrespective of the tonal shift from the current occupant of the White House, current travel and business between Cuba and the United States will generally remain unchanged.