Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

Mr. Trump will reinstate travel and commercial restrictions eased by Mr. Obama a year ago, during that administration's attempts to obtain additional concessions from the Cuban government.

He clamped down on some commerce and travel, but left intact many new avenues his predecessor Barack Obama had opened.

In response to the USA, the Cuban government issued a statement on Friday slamming Trump's policy as "destined to fail", while reaffirming its willingness to continue the dialogue and cooperation with Washington.

Fulfilling his campaign promise to reverse the previous Obama administration's re-engagement with Havana, Trump announced stricter regulations on US travelers to Cuba and a clampdown on business dealings with the Cuban Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group. But officials said USA visitors in particular tended to patronize private businesses.

"Effective immediately, I am cancelling the previous administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba", Trump said.

"Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve it through pressures and impositions, or by employing more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure", Efe news quoted President Raul Castro as saying in a statement. Trump cast that as a sign the USA still wanted to engage with Cuba in hopes of forging "a much stronger and better path".

Mr. Trump reversed Obama's relaxed stance towards Cuba calling it a "terrible and misguided deal" and called the Cuba government a "brutal, brutal regime".

The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the United States on a variety of subjects.

"More importantly, as Cuba moves to reform its economy in the post-Castro era, American businesses should be present to lead by example", Marriott's statement said.

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The new embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open, and restrictions on goods will stay the same.

"I am totally sure that this is much better that what Obama did", said Lopez, who arrived in the 1960.

Boosting travel was a key aim of Obama's effort to restore ties with Cuba after a half-century chill, which culminated with a visit by the then-president in 2016.

But the announcement made by President Trump, prohibit solo trips to Cuba, but would allow group trips to continue.

Trump also stated that the complete change of these regulations is just a small part from shifting away from Obama's Policy.

The U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution, and spent decades trying to either overthrow the government or isolate the island, including by toughening an economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The near-universal sentiment from the travel and hospitality industries was that Trump's decision would be bad for both USA tourists and residents of Cuba. USA farmers can continue selling their crops to the Cuban government. "We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are free".

United Kingdom visitors to Cuba have many alternative routes to the island, including non-stop Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick to Havana and Varadero, charter flights to a range of airports and connections via Paris or Madrid to the Cuban capital. "Expanding U.S. commercial interests and introducing U.S. investment in Cuba should be coupled with the Cuban government's concrete and irreversible steps to ensure the democratic rights and freedoms of its people".

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