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Trump Directs Changes to Cuba Policy

20 June 2017
Trump Directs Changes to Cuba Policy

He believes that Trump's refusal to mend fences with Havana would harm Cuba by slashing the number of American tourists coming to the island, undermine the fledgling business cooperation between the two countries and antagonize businessmen on both sides of the Straits of Florida.

Cuban officials said last Wednesday that almost 285,000 USA visitors flocked to Cuba in the first five months of 2017, roughly the same number as for all of previous year. Last week, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to back new sanctions on Russian Federation.

Travel to Cuba will become more hard.

Rodriguez also said that Havana will not answer Washington's call to return to the US people who have sought political asylum in Cuba, such as Assata Shakur. Steeped in the "anti-colonial" view of the world that saw first British then American leadership as the cause of the world's ills and a justification for rogue states' bad actions, Obama intentionally put US interests last or subsumed them into some vague notion of the world's interests.

Trump based his partial reversal of Obama's Cuba measures largely on human rights grounds.

The Trump administration says it is changing the policy toward Cuba by limiting the amount of money that might go toward the country's military-linked businesses, restricting American tourism there and reaffirming the 56-year-old trade embargo.

Trump, however, stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostilities. He said he remains focused on finding ways to "increase trade with Cuba rather than cut off relationships that have the potential to create new jobs, bring in revenue and boost our national economy". According to reports and administration officials, the two biggest changes would primarily impact individual travel to the island by U.S. nationals as well as place more limits on business deals with entities owned by the Cuban military.

As for the real effects of policy, Mr Rodriguez said that he will need to wait for Mr Trump's measures to be implemented before he can completely assess their impacts.

But groups here in the United States and the Cuban government expressed some reservations.

"There will not be a presidential directive from the US that will alter the direction of Cuba", Bruno Rodriguez told journalists in Vienna, where he was meeting with Austrian officials.

In the long run, though, I'm confident that the common dreams and connections that exist between our two peoples are too deep to be discouraged by any change in USA policy.

The changes are "modest" Pedro Freyre, chairman of law firm Akerman LLP's worldwide practice and an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, said in a phone interview. He said penalties on Cuba would remain in place until its government releases political prisoners, stops abusing dissidents and respects freedom of expression. "They only enrich the Cuban regime".

Rodriguez echoed this point saying that when Trump was recently in Saudi Arabia "he said 'We are not here to tell other people how to live.' Last Friday he said quite the opposite".

The Cuban government, which has made clear it will not be pressured into reforms, had no immediate comment. Moscow said Trump's policy changes showed that "anti-Cuban discourse is still widely in demand". "Such an approach has characterized the United States attitude to Cuba for decades", the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Trump said the US embassy would remain open on the communist island and repeated his mantra he would be seeking a "better deal" with the Cuban government.

Q: What did Trump say about it?

Diaz-Balart, as The Daily Caller originally reported in May, traded his vote on the American Health Care Act to gain concessions from Trump on his Cuba policy. Instead, they should book their travels through groups that the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control officially approved.

Mexico's foreign ministry urged the United States and Cuba to resolve their differences "via dialogue".