Trump to announce curbs on business with Cuban military

20 Juin, 2017, 16:43 | Author: Lucrece Courtet

President Donald Trump will announce travel and business restrictions with Cuba in a Friday speech in Miami, White House officials told reporters Thursday.

One official said the difference was that Trump had specifically promised to take action on Cuba to a rally of the Cuban diaspora a year ago in Florida, a state which Trump won.

While Cuban-American Republicans like Rubio and U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami have pushed for changing the Obama policy - which they believe does nothing to advance the conditions of the Cuban people and strengthens the oppressive Cuban regime - groups that favor continuing trade and tourism between the two nations have been pushing for as little change as possible.

The administration will consider benchmarks - free elections, the release of political prisoners and direct pay for Cuban workers - as progress that could eventually lead to the easing of the restrictions, according to the senior administration officials. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected.

"Early reports have confirmed that on Friday, June 16, 2017 President Trump will officially announce a significant uptick in enforcement in U.S.travel to Cuba".

Since Obama's historic effort in his second term to normalize relations with Cuba, Americans have been allowed to travel to the island nation under 12 different categories of travel with just a general license.

The policy changes also do not seek to close off diplomatic ties, shutter the newly opened U.S. Embassy in Havana, or limit what Americans can bring back from Cuba, including cigars and rum. The trips were made easier by the resumption of scheduled commercial air service from the US for the first time in decades. Marco Rubio, considered a key participant in the decision-making.

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"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.

USA visitors also will be prohibited from staying in any hotels doing business with the Cuban military, including the Four Points Sheraton, which Starwood took over from the military in a deal the Obama administration approved.

"To say the least it would be nice to see Cuba turn itself around and embrace human rights".

"My administration's policy will be guided by key USA national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people", the draft of the eight-page Presidential Policy Directive said, according to the website.

President Trump's new measures are designed specifically to restrict money to the Cuban military and intelligence services. Cuba will also not be reclassified as a state sponsor of terrorism under the new policy.

Obama softened aspects of the decades-long embargo on the island after the United States and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations in 2015 after more than half a century of rupture. Trump's changes would not go into effect until specific new regulations are written and put in place.

Critics said the changes would only hurt everyday Cubans who work in the private sector and depend on American visitors to help provide for their families.

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