Cuba Denounces Trump's New Measures

Cuba Denounces Trump's New Measures

Cheryl Sanders
June 19, 2017

"It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration's awful deal with the Castro regime", he said "They made a deal with a government that spreads violence and instability in the region". The president announced a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of US cash to the country's military and security services.

Trump's announcement on Friday in Miami reverses the advances made in the past two years since 2014 when Castro and Obama revealed their decision to restore diplomatic relations and begin the process of normalising bilateral ties.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document after announcing his Cuba policy at the Manuel Artime Theater in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, U.S. June 16, 2017.

US President Donald Trump left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened US embassy in Havana.

BLOCK: And what about reaction from the Cuban government, from the Communist Party there?

However, it said Cuba "reiterates its willingness to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation" that have taken place with Washington since 2015 when the drive for restored ties began under Obama.

"They made a deal with a government that spread violence and instability in the region and nothing they got, think about it, nothing they got, they fought for everything and we just didn't fight hard enough, but now, those days are over", Trump said.

Speaking at a rally at Miami's Little Havana, Florida, Trump announced new restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba and US business with Cuban military while keeping the restoration of normal U.S. "Officially, today, they are rejected".

"Effective immediately I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba", Trump said Friday.

The official statement noted that "any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, via pressure and coercion, is destined to fail".

"Our embassy (in Cuba) remains open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path", he said.

The Cuban government also called the Trump's executive order a "backward step", saying the administration was resorting to "coercive methods from the past" in taking steps to strengthen the embargo.

"If you want Cuba to change and reform, we are doing the opposite of what would be most likely to bring about reforms", said Ben Rhodes, a former Obama aide who helped negotiate rapprochement.

Talking about Obama's administration, the analyst said that the previous United States president was working to enhance cooperation with the Latin American countries. Parts of the pact are likely to remain in place, including the reopened USA embassy in Cuba's capital, Havana, and the restoration of relations between U.S. and Cuba.

As it stands, the US officially recognizes the Cuban government. "The Cuban people will continue deciding themselves on the changes necessary for Cuba". The move shuts down what amounted to a backdoor way to allow American tourism in Cuba, despite the decades-old embargo that prohibits it. He is not going to encourage any new trade sanctions.

And while his policy has the stated aim of helping the country's nascent private sector, it contains a measure that could damage thousands of small-business people who host, feed and transport independent American travelers to Cuba.

The new rules will stop individual travel to Cuba and seek to restrict the flow of payments to the many Cuban companies owned by the regime's security forces.

At the venue where Trump announced his policy changes, the president received a warm welcome from audience members.

"We will continue to urge the Trump Administration and Congress to recognize and utilize travel as a strategic tool in efforts to improve relations with Cuba, allowing us to be part of a promising future, as opposed to reverting to the policies of the past".

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically supportive of GOP presidents, predicted the changes would limit prospects for "positive change on the island", while Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Trump's policy was "misguided" and will hurt the U.S. economically.

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