Trump to announce changes in Cuba policy
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 14:11
"The new policy centers on the belief that the oppressed Cuban people - rather than the oppressive Castro regime's military and its subsidiaries - should benefit from American engagement with the island", said a Trump administration statement obtained by USA TODAY.
The stated goal of the new policy is to cut down on human rights abuses.
According to White House officials, Mr. Trump plans to outline stiffer rules for American travelers visiting Cuba and a sweeping prohibition against transactions with companies controlled by the military, which runs vast swaths of the hotel and tourism sector.
But the ease with which US citizens have been able to travel to Cuba over the past two years could also be affected by a significant change in Treasury's control over their activities.
"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.
The move marks yet another departure from a signature policy of the Obama administration, which ended a decades-long freeze of diplomatic ties with Cuba in 2014. Some were persuaded. Ramon Sanchez, head of the Cuban-American democracy movement, explains his change in attitude. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected.
Options under consideration by the administration include new limits on American travel to the island and restrictions on partnerships between USA companies and entities with ties to the Cuban military, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
He called the new policy a strategic, long-term attempt to force aging Cuban military and intelligence officers to ease their grip as a younger generation of leaders prepares to take over. Trump will not close down the US Embassy in Havana, which Obama re-established in 2015. The US wet foot dry foot policy to protect Cuban refugees who land on American shores will not be altered.
His comment come as U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce a new Cuba policy on Friday. US firms may no longer do deals with Cuban businesses controlled by the military or security services, considered repressive institutions.
Trump will tighten travel restrictions and ban USA spending with any state-run businesses tied to the military.
Senator Rubio and President Trump haven't laid out specifics, but some worry the administration will make it more hard to travel there.
Some aides have argued that Trump, a former real estate magnate who won the presidency promising to unleash US business and create jobs, would have a hard time defending any moves that close off the Cuban market. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart say more sanctions are needed.
But Trump's planned rollback of Obama's policy has drawn opposition from American businesses and the travel industry, which have begun making inroads on the island, as well as many lawmakers, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans.