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Donald Trump is expected to put an end to Obama's efforts to normalize economic and diplomatic relations with Cuba. Clamping down on travel and commercial ties with the island will affect the tourism industry. Photo: EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa
Donald Trump is expected to put an end to Obama's efforts to normalize economic and diplomatic relations with Cuba. Clamping down on travel and commercial ties with the island will affect the tourism industry. Photo: EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa

Trump to announce new Cuba policy today

In a speech in Miami, the US President is expected to reverse Obama's policy of rapprochement with Cuba and to announce stiffer rules on travel and commercial…

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President Donald Trump is expected to travel to Miami today to announce the result of his administration's review of US policy toward Cuba, as confirmed by the White House. 

Since Trump took office in January, political analysts and the media have been speculating which would be the result of the review of Washington's Cuba policy. During the electoral campaign, Trump promised that he did not agree on many aspects with the politics of diplomatic normalization initiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump was very aware that for many Cubans exiled in Miami, a rapprochement with Castro's communist regime was not welcome. In order not to disappoint the Cuban voters, Trump toughened his stance on Cuba and promised to rescind many of Obama's measures vis-a-vis Havana unless the Castro regime were to restore assorted freedoms to the Cuban people, as reported in EFE.

"Trump will try to please the voices asking him to tighten the screws on Havana. Sanctions, cutting back and revoking the measures taken during the thaw are among the demands of those who bet on confrontation, a strategy that has had half a century to demonstrate its ineffectiveness,"says the Op-Ed article published at 14ymedio, a dissident Cuban media outlet. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier this week at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump wants to allow business activity and trade with Cuba to continue as much as possible because he appreciates the benefits that this opening provides for the Cuban people.

However, the administration wants to ensure that it is not involuntarily or directly providing financial help to the Raul Castro regime and that it is not violating the law vis-a-vis sanctions on Cuba imposed by the US Congress over the past half century, Tillerson said on Tuesday.

"As we're developing these business relationships and as we're enjoying the benefits on the economic and development side, are we inadvertently or directly providing financial support to the regime? Our view is we are," Tillerson said.

"And the question is ... how do we bring that back into compliance with longstanding statutory obligations?" he added.

It is anticipated that Trump will also urge the Cuban government to improve its respect for human rights, according to information provided by Tillerson.

"We think we have achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba .... and it has little incentive today to change that," the secretary of state said.

In making this shift, both countries will be affected. For the Americans, it will be more difficult and expensive to travel to and do business with the communist island. But Cubans "may pay the steeper price, particularly those who derive their livelihoods from tourism and increased business opportunities that emerged with the new Obama policy, " as reported in The NY Times.

"What will be the foreseeable consequences on the Island of a return to the politics of the cudgel? An increase in repression and a better positioning of the more conservative sectors...," agrees the dissident media 14ymedio.

"Russia, China, Angola, Nicolas Maduro and comrades from North Korea, Congo, Zimbabwe and Iran will rush to take sides with Raul Castro. Meanwhile, in the streets of the Island the population will mark Trump’s measures with renewed “marches of the fighting people,” shouting anti-imperialist slogans and accepting the postponement of the old promises of the Revolution," as reported in 14ymedio-.

 

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