United States president Donald Trump has announced that his administration will implement new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, effectively reversing Barack Obama's attempts to normalise relations between the two nations.
Trump announced that the USA would impose new limits on USA travelers to the island and ban any payments to the military-linked conglomerate that controls much of the island's tourism industry.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Trump has plenty of human rights issues to address at home.
On January 16, 2017, an overwhelming majority of the US Senate passed a new sanctions bill targeting both Russian Federation and Iran.
On June 16, President Donald Trump gave a speech in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood outlining his planned rollback of the loosening of travel and trade restrictions initiated under the Obama administration.
While these moves in themselves are likely to have little significant effect on the ruling layer of the Cuban government, they will negatively impact the increasing numbers of Cubans who are reliant on United States tourism, from the owners of Airbnbs to restaurant workers and owners to taxi drivers and hotel workers, among others.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez today defended his country " s right to grant political asylum to US civil rights fighters, and made it clear that those people will not be returned to the United States.
Cuba has the patience to normalize the relation with the United States, he said, questioning Trump's motivation of going back to the failed policy on Cuba. The Obama administration's rapprochement with Cuba and presidential trips to Latin America made important improvements in regional relations. After his remarks, Trump signed an order directing the Treasury Department to make the changes. The Castro regime does not exist for the sake of the Cuban people; it exists for the sake of itself, the party, and the military that run the island. Grupo de Administracion Empresarial SA, known as GAESA, a state-run, military-affiliated conglomerate, owns nearly all of the retail chains in Cuba and 57 of the mainly foreign-run hotels on the island.
"They made a deal with a government that spread violence and instability in the region and nothing they got, think about it, nothing they got, they fought for everything and we just didn't fight hard enough, but now, those days are over", Trump said. In the first four months of 2017, the USA has exported over $83 million worth of goods and services to the island.
The statement says that "It's clear the anti-Cuba discourse is still widely needed".
NCL and Royal Caribbean are also sailing into Cuba.
Trump will also exempt banking transactions and fees, allowing Americans to continue to rent private properties such as those offered through AirBnB.
If anything, a hardening of US policy on Cuba will prevent reforms and empower those who warned that the USA could not be trusted as an honest partner. He also maintained Obama's decision to cancel the wet-foot/dry-foot immigration policy that allowed Cuban refugees automatic asylum if they touched US soil.
There is no timeline set for the completion of the draft of the new regulations.
Mr. Castro has announced plans to step down as head of state in 2018, and the current first vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, is considered a likely successor. Commercial engagements completed ahead of the issuance of the new regulations will be allowed to proceed.
The move has been seen as an effort by Trump to keep his campaign promise last fall to the Cuban Americans in south Florida, who have long held an anti-Cuban government attitude. And the US government will police other such trips to ensure there's a tour group representative along making sure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities". However, they have rejected reason and good judgment in exchange for Trump's signature on legislation that furthers their agenda.
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