While delivering a speech at a Miami theater on Friday, President Trump ordered tighter restrictions on American travel to Cuba and canceled former President Obama’s “one-sided deal” with the Communist nation, calling it a “terrible and misguided deal.”
“Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” Trump told the large crowd in Miami’s Cuban-American enclave of Little Havana.
The president announced that he is keeping his campaign promise to rollback his predecessor’s diplomatic outreach to the country and take a tougher stance against Cuba.
“I keep my promises,” Trump said. “And now that I am your president, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime.” He also pledging that his administration will not “hide from it” and accused the regime of harboring “cop killers, hijackers, and terrorists.”
Trump announced that his new policy changes are meant to encourage a free Cuba. “With God’s help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve,” Trump said.
A key component of Trump’s revised Cuba policy calls for stricter enforcement of a longtime ban on Americans traveling to Cuba as tourists and seeks to prevent U.S. dollars from being used in financial transactions with dozens of enterprises run by the military-dominated corporation GAESA, reports Fox News.
“We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba,” Trump said.
The Trump administration is banning one particular type of travel, known as individual “people-to-people” trips, for Americans traveling to the island. Instead, travelers to Cuba will be required to visit the island as part of organized tour groups run by American companies. Obama had previously omitted the tour requirement from his Cuba policy.
As Trump seeks to tighten travel restrictions, he does not plan to cut off the recently resumed direct U.S.-Cuba commercial flights or cruise-ship travel.
One White House official told reporters that the administration has no intention of “disrupting” existing business ventures such as one deal struck under Obama by Starwood Hotels Inc, which is owned by Marriott International Inc, to manage a historic Havana hotel.
Furthermore, the official clarified that Trump does not plan to reinstate limits that Obama lifted on what Americans can bring back from Cuba, such as the island’s coveted cigars and rum.
Trump affirmed in his speech that diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba will remain open, as will the newly opened U.S. embassies in Washington and Havana, in an effort to forge a “better path.” However, he warned that his administration would strongly enforce the ban on tourism and the embargo, and would not lift sanctions until the regime releases all political prisoners and schedules free and internationally supervised elections, according to Fox News.
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