Barack Obamas legacy US President Donald Trump cancels one-sided Cuba deal

Virginia Carter
June 19, 2017

However, despite the rhetoric, the order appears to be less far-reaching than the President claimed, for example, the embassies that opened in Havana and Washington will be maintained, Cuban Americans will be allowed to send money to their families and visit them, and US companies will be allowed to continue commercial transportation, including flights between the two countries. However, the government also made it clear that it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" and cooperation with Washington on issues of mutual interest.

Before his election campaign previous year, Trump had no history of supporting the cause of Cuban freedom - and since coming to power he has embraced other authoritarian regimes without much pause to consider their human rights records.

While anti-Castro conservatives hailed Trump's partial roll-back of President Barack Obama's detente, a number of other GOP lawmakers, particularly from farm states, criticized the change as misguided and isolationist.

Trump has stopped short of completely resetting relations with Cuba again: He isn't ending diplomatic ties, or closing the U.S. Embassy in Havana or placing restrictions on cigars, rum and other items that Americans can schlep home. On Thursday, seven Republican lawmakers from outside Florida whose districts see agricultural, industrial or commercial opportunities in Cuba wrote Trump to argue that keeping a foothold Cuba is important for USA national security.

Under Mr. Trump's policy, Americans will no longer be able to plan their own private trips to Cuba, and those who go as part of authorized educational tours will be subject to strict new rules and audits to ensure that they are not going just as tourists. Under the expected changes, the US will ban American financial transactions with the dozens of enterprises run by the military-linked corporation GAESA, which operates dozens of hotels, tour buses, restaurants and other facilities.

In return, the Cuban-Americans who turned out to welcome him to the symbolic heart of the exile community rewarded Trump with what in turn he seems to want the most: wild applause.

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At the venue where Trump announced his policy changes, the president received a warm welcome from audience members. The Cuban News Agency said Trump took "a step backward" in ties with Cuba, by adopting a "unilateral" and "interventionist" stance. The revised regulations will no longer authorize individual people-to-people travel.

Former deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, who played a key role in the change of policy under Obama, accused Trump of "turning back the clock to a tragically failed Cold War mindset".

"The small, nascent Cuban private sector and cuentapropistas [the self-employed]... were meant to be the primary beneficiaries of the expanded travel and limited trade allowed under Obama's policies". "We will enforce the embargo", the USA president said.

The Cuban government has given Trump's speech extensive coverage on official media. "We lost sight - or many lost sight - of the fact that one of those family values was to have a child back with his father".

"We will keep in place the safeguards to prevent Cubans from risking their lives to unlawful travel to the United States". Such policy characterized the USA approach to Cuba for decades. "We won't lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners and freed. until free and internationally recognised elections are held", Trump added. Trump painted his moves as a fulfillment of his campaign promise to reverse the thaw begun under the Obama administration, saying Cuba had failed to make progress improving human rights. 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.

Other reports by BadHub

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