Trump announces new Cuba policy

Jerome Frank
June 18, 2017

President Donald Trump's announcement that he's "cancelling" his predecessor's policy toward Cuba is a good deal less than meets the ear.

An AP Fact Check finds that President Donald Trump's policies on Cuba sounds a lot like President Barack Obama's old policies. But, facing pressure from United States businesses and even some fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with Cuba, the president chose to leave intact some of his Democratic predecessor's steps toward normalization. "In less than an hour he showed Cubans how US policy works".

President Donald Trump shows a signed executive order on Cuba policy, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami.

The Cuban statement criticised the "hostile rhetoric that recalls the time of open confrontation", and "return to the coercive methods of the past".

Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" with the U.S. on topics of mutual interest.

"More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba", Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that Obama's trip to Cuba last year opened the door to "scrutiny and transparency" of human rights on the island for the first time in almost 10 years.

He clamped down on some commerce and travel, but left intact many new avenues former U.S. president Barack Obama had opened.

Diplomatic relations, restored only two years ago, are to remain intact.

Obama had pushed for expanding commerce and travel between the two countries.

It's for the Cuban people to decide whatever changes are necessary in the island.

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"But for the Cuban economy - including the private sector - this shift is a tremendous blow".

"There will be little impact on the U.S. economy", said Michael Shifter, a specialist at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based research group.

"Any limitations on travel hurt Cuban small business owners - restaurants, shops, taxis - that depend on travellers for revenue".

The release goes on to say that the groups feel the rollbacks infringe upon their freedom to sell agricultural goods, as IL farmers value sales with the island nation. Cuba's government may not formally respond to Trump's speech until a speech Monday by its foreign minister.

Other members of the luncheon meeting, held in a Miami suburb, expressed disappointment that they were not consulted by USA lawmakers from Florida who helped shape the policy, including Sen. For more than a decade, a diverse coalition that includes worldwide educators has advocated for opening relations with Cuba. Trump, on the other hand, described his move as an effort to bring about a "free Cuba" after more than half a century of communism. "On the other hand, we think we've achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba and its treatment of people", he said, "and it has little incentive to change that".

Other categories of allowed travel to Cuba, such as for Cuban-Americans to visit family and educational exchanges, will still be allowed.

Trump asserted that the U.S. will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country's "great, great future, a country of great potential".

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 Obama administration argued that decades of isolation had failed to produce changes in the Cuban regime and sought a diplomatic and economic opening between the nations.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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