Trump to announce curbs on business with Cuban military

Wayne CurryJun 16, 2017

The embassies in Havana and Washington DC that reopened in 2015 are expected to be unaffected by Trump's policy shift but his tightening of the relationship and reinforcing of the 50-year US-Cuba trade embargo will please many among Miami's hardline Cuban exile community who helped him win Florida - and consequently the White House - in November's presidential election.

Trump is expected to partially reverse the diplomatic thaw that President Obama started in December 2014.

While the US prohibits tourism to Cuba, the US Treasury Department now allows travelers to "self-license" under 12 different categories of travel, such as educational tours and participating in sporting events.

An administration official who briefed reporters Thursday on the Cuba plan said that the president's intent is "not to disrupt existing transactions that have [already] occurred" and that the fate of Starwood's Cuba deals would be handled by regulations to be written by the Treasury and Commerce departments. We want to empower and we want to strengthen the Cuban people without strengthening the Cuban military, which controls a significant percentage of their economy. This will essentially shield USA airlines and cruise lines now serving the island. The mounting pressure from American businesses to preserve the economic benefits of normalizing U.S. -Cuba relations apparently outweighs the hard-liners' insistence that only further isolation of the Cuban government can lead it to respect human rights and make concessions to U.S. interests.

"Young Cuban-Americans in many ways are conditioned to think going to Cuba equals giving money to Castro, equals hurting the Cuban people", Sopo says. Companies like Airbnb, Google and Sheraton hotels began to operate in Cuba.

That was a key aim of Obama's painstaking effort to restore ties with the communist-run island, which included a landmark visit there in 2016.

The devil will be in the details as to how severe the scrutiny would become and whether it would have a chilling effect on Americans' travel to Cuba.

Egberto Morales, a visiting Cuban, said it is an error to interpret Obama's changes as a way to disrupt this dictatorship.

That directive could undercut efforts by the USA hotel industry, which hopes to use the Starwood deal as a template as it continues to push Congress to lift the ongoing US embargo completely.

"The ill-advised move, pushed by representatives in Congress, including Senator Marco Rubio, who have no firsthand knowledge of the situation in Cuba and merely want to perpetuate policies that were ineffective for more than half a century, could have the negative effect of encouraging Raul Castro to align Cuba with less democratic governments like those in Russian Federation and China".

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Tillerson said the shift in relations comes, in part, because "Cuba has failed to improve its human rights record".

United States government officials tell CNN that Trump will not, as he threatened during the campaign, close the U.S. embassy in Havana and break off ties.

Following their February White House dinner, Trump and Rubio discussed Cuba again aboard Air Force One on March 3, when Rubio joined the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on a charter-school visit.

Americans who go to Cuba, who beyond hotels can stay at privately owned inns, could face problems when they return if they are found to have patronized the GAES.

"New restrictions on engagement with Cuban economy only pushes Cuba to China and Russian Federation who will gladly make up the difference", said Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama's Cuba policy. At least not yet. Many Cubans did better.

A major rollback, he said, "would take us back to the idea that if you punish the Cuban people, they will overthrow the government, and that's not going to happen".

While there hasn't been much progress, both governments have already been negotiating on thorny issues like human rights, fugitives and repatriations for Americans who had their property seized after the revolution. Cuba will soon have a new generation of leaders, one way or another. Cuban officials proudly say they have already withstood over 50 years of punishing USA sanctions.

The Cuban-American legislators had each enumerated their own ideas to the White House separately earlier this year, keeping them so tightly held that when the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald obtained Diaz-Balart's memo from another source in March, not even his own staff had copies readily available. He promised them to provide more job opportunities and to reduce trade will not assist in doing that and so Trump is a confusion state.

For the first time on October 25th, 2016 the presidency of USA received the endorsement from the Veterans Group.

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