President Trump is expected to get tough on Cuba as he rolls back Obama’s decision to ease diplomatic and business restraints on the communist country. He goes to Miami Friday to announce the policy changes in more detail.
Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba will experience sweeping changes, according to reports that Trump’s administration plans to prohibit all transactions with businesses controlled by the Cuban regime.
Travel to Cuba will certainly be affected.
According to CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk, one of the most notable changes will be the end of the permitted individual travel policy known as “people to people,” which “Trump advisers, including Senator Marco Rubio, believe has been used to allow tourist travel.” Rubio was a key consultant in development of the President’s plan, along with members of Congress who are experts on Cuba policy.
In his efforts to apply economical pressure to get the tyrannical Castro government to reform, Falk explains that Trump is prohibiting transactions with businesses and hotels controlled by the Cuban military and security services. She notes that this comes months prior to Cuban President Raul Castro’s planned retirement, at a time when human rights groups and dissidents in Cuba are reporting a rise in arrests and abuses.
It’s being reported that some Americans will soon have to travel to Cuba as part of an organized tour group if they wish to visit the island, and all categories of travel there will be subject to an audit.
The new policy is expected to crack down on extraditing fugitives, according to Trump officials during a press briefing on Thursday. The changes reportedly won’t put an end to U.S. relations with Cuba, re-establish the controversial “” policy, or roll back the policy on how much rum, cigars and other popular products Americans can take from Cuba.
The status of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is expected to remain the same.
The process should take approximately 30 days to initiate.
“The president vowed to reverse the Obama administration policies towards Cuba that have enriched the Cuban military regime and increased the repression on the island — it is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping,” said one senior administration official said during the briefing.
The administration says that by restricting transactions with Cuban regime-controlled businesses, including many hotels Americans often stay in, money that would go to the regime can instead go directly to the Cuban people. The State Department is in the process of putting together a list of hotels that don’t violate that ban.
Benchmarks in which the Cuban regime reforms its inhumane practices through free and fair elections, the release of political prisoners and direct pay for Cuban workers will be measured by the U.S., and progress in such areas could eventually lead to the easing of the restrictions.
One senior official stated, “The president has made clear that he will look toward repressive regimes in this hemisphere.”
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