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19 June 2017, 12:45 | Opal Carroll
US President Donald Trump speaks in Little Havana Florida about policy changes he is making toward Cuba
Once implemented Trump'spolicy is expected to curtail U.S.travel by creating a maze of rules for Americans to obey.
At the same time, he said that the United States embassy in Havana would remain open. He vowed to seek a "much better deal for the Cuban people and for the U.S.". But it makes some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, according to U.S. officials.
1962: Castro agrees to allow the Soviet Union to deploy nuclear missiles on the island bringing the United States and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war.
"The Cuban regime will always find an excuse to blame the US government", she said. Many Cuban entrepreneurs fear this will stifle the American travel that has allowed so many of them to flourish since the start of detente.
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Trump, however, stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostilities.
Trump's speech, which came as the president signed a directive outlining his posture toward Cuba, is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to chip away at Obama's legacy, of which the Cuba policy of starting a historic detente was a major part. Nor does Trump plan to reinstate limits that Obama lifted on the amount of the island's coveted rum and cigars that Americans can bring home for personal use. Trump's hatred of Obama is apparent.
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 it also made clear that any US strategy aimed at "changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba ... will be doomed to failure". This is a lethal blow on Cuba's government in a bid to suppress oppression and promote human rights.
Trump said that easing restrictions on trade and travel only helps the Castro government, and he wants USA money to go only to the fledgling private sector. "It's also the construction crews, the private tour guides, the taxi drivers, the restaurants and the artists selling handicrafts", said Andrea Gallina, an Italian entrepreneur who past year opened a high-end boutique hotel, Paseo 206, with his Cuban spouse.
The policy will also ban most American financial transactions with the military-linked conglomerate that dominates much of the Cuban economy, including dozens of hotels, along with state-run restaurants and tour buses.
And any new government can not include Raúl Castro or Fidel Castro, now a moot point. "I have trust in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to Cuba", said Jorge Saurez, 66, a retired physician in Little Havana. "Everything bad that happens in Cuba, they blame the embargo".
Moreover, it appears there's a willingness to keep in place Obama's efforts to communicate with Cuba.
According to senior White House officials, Trump is also revisiting trade and travel policies towards Cuba, clamping down on individual people-to-people travel. "His speech was aggressive and threatening, ... revealing his contempt and ignorance", President Nicolas Maduro said in a speech.
Trump didn't fully reverse the rapprochement with Cuba. "It is an offense against Latin America".
Americans will no longer be able to travel to Cuba individually unless they fall into one of 12 previously established categories that will continue to include people-to-people but only if they are part of a group with a set schedule. "The stronger there, the longer it's gonna take for us to take back our country", said Eddie Ameneiro in Chicago.
But the significant policy shift will curtail Americans' ability to travel freely to Cuba, even as numerous USA airlines, hotels and travel sites like AirBnb have begun offering services there. The effect of this new policy will be strengthening the revolutionary leadership and seeing that it's right.
President Barack Obama's restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing of decades-old travel and business restrictions had divided Cuban-Americans.
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