Monday, 23 October, 2017

What did Trump change about the Cuba policy?

Erik Tate | 18 June, 2017, 01:56

One of the major changes in the policy directive is that US travelers making educational people-to-people trips can no longer go to Cuba individually but must travel in groups accompanied by a company representative.

Cuba regretted "a reversal in relations between the two countries", the statement said.

The Cuban government maintained that the new policies would not work, comparing it to the economic embargo that never ushered the Castro regime out of power as the US had hoped.

President Donald #trump announced a rollback in Obama-era #Cuba policies at a rally in Little Havana, Miami Friday afternoon.

Trump and the Cuban-American Congress members who helped design the new policy pledged on Friday that it would block the flow of us cash toward military-linked enterprises and direct it toward independent businesses, with the long-term aim of overturning President Raul Castro's government. The government remained willing to engage in "respectful dialogue", it said in a statement.

Many government officials and their supporters saw the Obama policy as an attempt to lull Cuba into complacency and undermine the foundations of a communist system based in part of near-total control of virtually every aspect of society, from animal-rights groups to the film industry.

Diplomatic relations restored just two years ago will remain intact and the countries will maintain embassies. But, in a shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met. "They will not achieve their objective of debilitating the Revolution or submitting the Cuban people, whose resistance to the aggressions of any kind and origin has been proven throughout six decades".

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea
On his first trip to North Korea, Rodman was accompanied by members of the Harlem Globetrotters and a crew from VICE News. Rodman, who appeared on Trump's reality TV show in 2009 and again in 2013, went on to endorse Trump's candidacy in 2015 .

"I am concerned it will affect the private sector quite a bit and much more than the Cuban government", he said. "We will enforce the embargo", the USA president said. But it makes some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, according to United States officials. Now it turns out that the anti-Cuban discourse is still in high demand. But those businesses host hundreds of thousands of Canadian, European and Latin American tourists a year, and do unfettered business with corporations from around the world, reducing the impact of any US cutoff.

The Cuban government has given Trump's speech extensive coverage on official media.

Global human rights groups say, however, that reinstating a US policy of isolating the island could make the situation worse by empowering Cuban hardliners.

But, facing pressure from US business and some of his fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with communist-ruled Cuba, he also will leave intact many of Obama's steps toward normalization. Trump, on the other hand, described his move as an effort to bring about a "free Cuba" after more than half a century of communism. According to the Cuban Ministry, 74 percent more American citizens visited the island in 2016 than in 2015 and, following through on a pledge to Obama, Castro opened almost 400 new public Wi-Fi access points around Cuba.

US Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican who represents Florida and its large Cuban population, said the move would drive US visitors to small businesses that actually help individual Cubans to become independent of the regime. "But it should not be expected that to that end, Cuba will make compromises to its very sovereignty", it said.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties.

Some of those new groups came under intense pressure during detente, particularly after Obama's May 2016 visit to the island.

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