by Countable | 6.16.17
President Donald Trump flew to Miami, Florida on Friday to deliver a speech announcing changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba, reversing some of the actions taken by the Obama administration to relax relations with the communist nation.
Trump called Obama’s policy changes "one-sided" in that they benefited the Cuban government at the expense of the freedom of ordinary Cubans, saying “We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer.”
In his speech, Trump outlined policies aimed at curtailing the Cuban military’s influence on the island in order to pressure the Castro regime into granting ordinary Cubans greater freedom. "With God’s help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve," Trump said.
"We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed; freedoms of assembly and expression are respected; all political parties are legalized; and free and internationally-supervised elections are held."
To undermine the Cuban military’s grip on the nation’s economy through the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial
(GAESA), the military’s conglomerate which controls businesses estimated to comprise 60 percent of Cuba’s economy, American companies will be barred from doing business with GAESA. The only exceptions to this prohibition would be for air and sea travel, and existing business ventures on the island.
Restrictions on travel to Cuba would be enhanced, with travel to the island for non-academic educational purposes being limited to group travel. This means that self-directed, individual travel to Cuba — which was allowed for a time following Obama's changes — will be prohibited. Additionally, Cuban-Americans will still be allowed to visit their family on the island and send remittances.
The Treasury and Commerce Departments will be required to start the process of issuing new regulations for these changes within 30 days, and the policies won’t take effect until they’re finalized within the next several months.
These restrictions would be eased if the Cuban government allows free elections to be held, releases political prisoners, and lets workers get paid directly in the future. As explained by a White House fact sheet on the matter:
"Any further improvements in the United States-Cuba relationship will depend entirely on the Cuban government’s willingness to improve the lives of the Cuban people, including through promoting the rule of law, respecting human rights, and taking concrete steps to foster political and economic freedoms.”
The economic embargo of Cuba will remain in effect.
The newly re-opened U.S. embassy in Havana will stay open and full diplomatic relations will continue.
Limits on remittances by Cuban-Americans who send money back to their families on the island won’t be reinstated.
The so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy, under which Cubans fleeing their country who reached U.S. soil were allowed to stay and given a path to permanent residence while those apprehended at sea were sent back to Cuba, will not be reinstated after the Obama administration ended it.
U.S. commercial flights to Cuba and cruise-ship travel will continue.
Limits on Cuban rum and cigars brought home by Americans for personal use will not be reinstated.
Existing U.S. business ventures in Cuba, such as a hotel in Havana owned by Marriott, will be allowed to proceed.
Tell your reps what you think of Trump’s changes to America’s policy on Cuba using the Take Action button.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: DeltaNewsHub via Flickr / Creative Commons)
Written by Countable
There is more to this than wanting to roll back Obama's policies. There is an article in today's Washington Post outlining how major US hotel chains are in the process of acquiring rights to build hotels in Cuba. This story points out that Trump is purposely trying to block competitors from getting first chance to build hotels in Cuba while he is in a position as President which makes it difficult for him to build hotels in a foreign country. So, this may not be about stopping Americans from visiting Cuba or about human rights in Cuba. Like everything in Trump land it is about his own bottom line and making money for himself.
Trump would bring back polio if he thought Obama invented the vaccine.
Putting sanctions on Cuba until they free their political prisoners? Are you f%@#$@#$ kidding me? 🤣 We have more political prisoners on Cuba than Cuba.
I hope I can expect the same tough stance on Saudi Arabia. Human rights abuses aren't acceptable anywhere.
Ignoring your real job to punish your predecessor again, Donnie?
This is ridiculous. He's doing this for the wrong reason, simply to undo something that Obama has done. This will impact thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue from increased travel. I expect to see sanctions on Saudi Arabia and a cancellation of the $100 billion arms deal as well. Congress needs to step up on both sides.
This is a bad move by an administration of bad moves!!!
To me it sounds like 95% hot air words and 5% pointless attempts at action that will change nothing. I suspect the Cuban leadership is laughing at him.
Trump only wants to undo any Obama initiatives and policies. He thinks he can erase Obama but he only makes the Obama legacy stronger. What a moron!
So Trump is rolling us back to failed policies of the past? And says he is helping the Cuban people? American businessmen should be livid. They were anticipating new markets and Cubans were hoping for opportunities for small business enterprises. And Trump condemns Communism in Cuba while he snuggles up to Russia and other dictatorships? And he says Comey is a "nut job"? Typical bullying tactics that always gets him into trouble. He doesn't read, doesn't listen and doesn't understand. You guys in Congress need to stand up to him.
Trump is just making us look foolish! Do not support his agenda!
Trump is a complete embarrassment to the USA
The change back to failed policies is ridiculous and another example of why Republicans are a failing party. Rubio is a pendejo and coward.
We're best buds with the Saudis, but we can't reach out to those Cuban "communist oppressors?" What is happening to my country?
Absolutely moronic. This approach has failed completely. Now Trump will reverse small, but measurable progress for no reason except Obama did it.
WHY DOES THIS MAN KEEP TRYING TO UNDO AND DISRUPT PROGRESS?!?! Where are our Representatives in this?! ENOUGH! #TrumpHasToGo!!!
One word ...showboating.
The President's new Cuba policy is all bluster and no substance from the point of view of the interests of ordinary U.S. citizens. The restrictions on spending at government hotels is designed to preserve the market for his own brand once he leaves the White House.
#45's hate runs deep !😥
This is ridiculous, there wasn't anything "one-sided" as Trumpito put it. Trump only wants to undo ALL of Obama initiatives and policies to try and erase Obama, but he only makes the Obama legacy look better and the legend grow stronger. It's time for the Republican base to want a leader that doesn't look EXTREMELY petty to ALL the other world leaders and global media outlets. He also lied to America and hasn't passed anything to help ANYONE in the 99%. He's only passed laws to help his family and the people they do business with. He's done the EXACT OPPOSITE of what he campaigned on. He needs to be impeached!