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White House cancels Obama's Cuba deal
March 18 2018, 05:25 | Van Peters
First U.S. Flight Since 1959 Lands in Cuba
President Trump is planning to announce changes in its relationship with Havana on Friday, including restrictions on Americans' travel to the island and doing business with the Cuban military, according to accounts of new policies published Thursday.
Yet Trump is politically indebted to conservative Cuban exiles in Miami who supported him in the past presidential election. The people familiar with the plans, both outside the White House, spoke earlier this week on condition of anonymity because discussions are ongoing. Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces manage as much as 60 per cent of the state-run economy, including the island's largest tourism company.
He will also leave in place some other tangible measures implemented by his Democratic predecessor, including the resumption of direct U.S. -Cuba commercial flights, though Trump's more restrictive policy seems certain to dampen new economic ties overall.
Changes expected include an explicit ban on all business between USA companies and Cuban counterparts that are controlled by the military.
Under Trump's new travel restrictions, commerce with businesses run by the military branch of the Cuban army will be strictly forbidden.
Maceda said the diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S.in the last 60 years didn't work.
But while certain USA businesses have increased their presence in Cuba and US visitors traveling under general licenses authorizing people-to-people contacts (read: mostly tourism) have increased since 2014, the Castro regime has continued its long-standing practice of brutalizing its own people.
"While the news comes as a step back for travel to Cuba, it is business as usual for Intrepid Travel", said Leigh Barnes, director of Intrepid Group North America. "I think, with these two years of Cuba enjoying the American tourist, they will think twice and change their policy". The Department of Treasury will create the new regulations and none of the changes will take effect until the regulations are completed.
The group that has ruled the country since the 1959 revolution is dying out and Cuba's main political and trade ally Venezuela is in crisis. It also won't change the status of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Those categories include family visits, official government business, education and religious activities, health clinics, and "support for the Cuban people". How big the changes in policy will be, however, remains to be seen.
The son of a Cuban immigrant, Rubio opposed Obama's re-engagement with Cuba, saying Obama was making concessions to an "odious regime".
Rubio said that he is "very proud of what the president will be announcing", in a video posted to Facebook.
If Cubans and Americans don't want new barriers erected between their countries, who is President Trump trying to help?
Hoping to bring democracy back to the communist island, former president Barack Obama in 2014 restored diplomatic ties with Cuba, reversing decades-old policy.
Trump had previously said he supported restoring diplomatic relations but wished the USA had negotiated a better deal.