Trump to announce curbs on business with Cuban military

Making good on promises to crack down on Cuba, President Donald Trump is expected to announce changes to existing US policy during a trip to Miami on Friday - rolling back numerous steps taken by former President Barack Obama's administration.

The Trump administration said the new policy, which goes into effect Friday, does not target Cuban people, but rather the military regime.

The new limits on US business deals will target the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, including hotels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They include: free elections, the release of political prisoners and direct pay for Cuban workers.

Embassies will remain open and travel and money sent by Cubans will be unaffected, the Herald reported.

Some skeptics have argued that the policy is largely aimed at President Barack Obama, whose administration substantially loosened regulations regarding Cuba during his second term.

Cuban-Americans have been anxiously awaiting President Donald Trump's announcement in Miami Friday of changes to US policy toward Cuba, though it appears the changes will be more like a tweak of the Obama-era provisions.

While the Trump administration says it wants to crack down on sources of revenue for the Cuban government so far there are no plans to reinstate the ban on Cuban cigars and rum, officials said.

While early, since President Trump is set to announce more particulars of the policy change tomorrow, Airbnb has come out in opposition to Trump's elimination of people-to-people tourism.

It is notable, however, that Trump's administration is taking a stand against Cuba's human rights abuses when it has made a habit of glossing over the same concerns with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart, both of whom wanted stiffer sanctions on the Castro government. In addition, they must take detailed records of all their financial transactions for five years to make them available to the US Treasury Department if requested, and also keep strict notes proving their compliance with the new order, otherwise they would be fined. Also Trump is likely redefining what it means to be part of the Cuban military, which could affect USA companies doing business in Cuba. But he will impose new limits on commercial transactions that involve the Cuban military. The reason: those were the visits most ripe for abuse by yanquis hoping to circumvent the law that prohibits USA tourist travel to Cuba. And they may be told they can't stay in state-run Cuban hotels - at least those run by the military, which controls most of Cuba's tourism industry. He pointed to the need to ensure that the rapprochement is not financing the Executive of Raul Castro. The only constituency that wants to reverse course is the very small group of diehard, older Cuban-Americans, the Miami anti-Castristas, whom Trump credits for his victory in Florida last November.

  • Leroy Wright