Trump keeps much of Obama's Cuba policy

Cheryl Sanders
June 17, 2017

United States President Donald Trump on Friday announced the cancellation of what he termed former President Barack Obama's "one-sided deal" with Cuba.

"The Trump administration will begin strictly enforcing the authorized exemptions that allow travel between the USA and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the military and intelligence services".

US cruise operators and airlines could lose around $712 million in annual revenues if the Trump administration fully reinstates restrictions on travel, Washington lobby group Engage Cuba said in a recent report. "President Trump's statements indicate that the Cuban people, rather than the government will be hit by this policy change", said David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC.

WOMAN (through interpreter): If definitely feels like a huge setback in the relationship between Cuba and the United States.

Shortly after President Donald Trump announced in Miami his decision to reverse the rapprochement with Cuba that the previous administration had started, the bipartisan body issued a communiqué criticizing that measure. Marco Rubio made clear his support for the changes and said how many will characterize it as a way to punish the Cuba regime but it will also empower the people of Cuba.

President Trump talked a lot today about how all of the money that's been going down over these last couple of years is going straight to the Cuban government.

A top Obama adviser demanded on Friday that Americans who fled Cuba's communist regime be "held accountable" for opposing Obama's disastrous policy toward the island nation's dictators.

The trade embargo remains in place under Trump.

More details about the changes are expected Friday, when the new policy is set to take effect.

However, Trump left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened USA embassy in Havana. Another category, for support for the Cuban people, is more stringent but will still allow for individual travel.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, said airlines are reviewing the directive and "will continue to comply with all federal rules and regulations regarding travel to Cuba".

While the changes are far-reaching, they appear to be less sweeping than many U.S. pro-engagement advocates had feared.

The policy changes will prohibit commercial dealings with Cuba's military, which controls many aspects of the country's economy, including the tourism sector, through civilian-run holding companies.

He's calling on the Senate's GOP leadership to allow a vote on his legislation that would eliminate restrictions on travel to Cuba by American citizens and legal residents.

Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015.

The change is posture, however, is only a partial shift from Obama's policy. But that agreement was good for a lot of American businesses.

"I have trust in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to Cuba", said Jorge Saurez, 66, a retired physician in Little Havana.

JOHN YANG: Alan, in the less than a minute we have left, I want to ask you about a development on your regular beat, which is immigration.

Under this policy, Cubans fleeing the island were permitted to stay in the United States if they reached US soil.

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