Cubans brace for worst as Trump takes aim at Obama opening
- Author: Marjorie Miles Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 6:13
Trump's justification of the partial reversal will hinge on Washington's human rights claims against the socialist government, and the claim that the easing of restrictions hasn't had the desired "regime change" effects desired by anti-Cuban elements on Capitol Hill. Americans traveling to Cuba will face more scrutiny and potentially audits of their trip when they get back home in order to prove their dollars didn't go to the Cuban military's pockets, which control much of the tourism economy.
Commercial flights, which resumed for the first time in 50 years last summer, will still continue between the US and Cuba. His aides contend that Obama's easing of US restrictions has done nothing to advance political freedoms in Cuba, while benefiting the Cuban government financially.
Last year, the Obama administration opened up Cuba to USA travelers essentially on the honor system - allowing travelers to self-report their trip's goal. The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans. A new generation is coming to power in Cuba and a new generation of Cuban-Americans is rising in Florida.
Embassies will remain open and travel and money sent by Cubans will be unaffected, the Herald reported.
"My friends and I have invested a lot in the possibility of the American public coming, so yes I'm anxious", said Coba, 27, echoing the view of many Cubans working in the relatively lucrative tourism sector. But as soon as new regulations are drafted by the Treasury and Commerce Departments, they're likely to pour cold water on the burgeoning Cuban travel business. That means that any USA traveler now booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, could go ahead and make the trip.
White House officials also noted that Americans can still bring Cuban cigars back from their trip.
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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.
Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro at an exposition game between the Cuban national baseball team and Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Estado Latinoamericano March 22, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. It spent subsequent decades trying to either overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening an economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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. American visits would likely drop, hurting both USA airlines and accommodation services operating there, as well as the Cuban tourism industry.
But other advisers have contended that it is important to make good on a promise to Cuban-Americans whose support they considered significant in winning Florida in the 2016 election.
The son of a Cuban immigrant, Rubio opposed Obama's re-engagement with Cuba, saying Obama was making concessions to an "odious regime". Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who lobbied for the change in policy earlier this year at the White House. The senator, who challenged Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, was expected to travel with the president aboard Air Force One and appear with him at Friday's announcement. The moves may include new limits on travel and investment policies.
"The oppressors of the Cuban people are the Cuban government who have increased repression on the island against dissidents ... since reestablishing diplomatic relations".
The government in Havana has made no public statements about the possible changes, although a high-ranking Cuban official told CNN this week that Raúl Castro is willing to negotiate a new deal with Trump.