Trump announces new Cuba policy

President Donald Trump is stopping into Miami Friday to announce changes to U.S. - Cuba policies.

The new realities of U.S.travel to Cuba will be determined by the regulations that federal agencies will produce as a result of the new policy.

In a statement on government-run websites and television, President Castro's administration said Mr Trump's speech was "loaded with hostile rhetoric that recalls the times of open confrontation".

Reversing policy is bad for Cubans, Human Rights Watch said in a statement, "and insisting on human rights progress as a precondition to a new policy is unlikely to bring about change".

Trump is reversing all of Obama's changes, but sources told ABC News he'll likely redefine what it means to be part of the Cuban military, which could prevent US companies from doing business in Cuba.

President Donald #trump announced a rollback in Obama-era #Cuba policies at a rally in Little Havana, Miami Friday afternoon.

The Cuban government also called the Trump's executive order a "backward step", saying the administration was resorting to "coercive methods from the past" in taking steps to strengthen the embargo.

But it also reiterated "its willingness to continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation".

The US Chamber of Commerce, typically supportive of Republican presidents, predicted the changes would limit prospects for "positive change on the island" and Minnesota Republican congressman Tom Emmer, said the policy was "misguided" and would hurt the US economically.

Obama spent two years to improve relations with Cuba. But, in a shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.

Of course, the mere news of the change is likely to have a chilling effect on travel to Cuba. The Cuban government has made clear it will not be pressured into reforms in exchange for further engagement with Washington.

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".

In addition, the White House said there will be an exception for Cuban-Americans who "will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances". And he insisted: "We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interest of both its people and ours".

While he acknowledged that changes in Cuba were necessary, pointing to the ongoing process of modernising and developing the island's economic and socialist model, he insisted that Cubans would decide its own fate independent of foreign influence.

The announcement of President Trump -it adds- goes against the support of most of the US public opinion, including the Cuban emigration in that country, to the calls for fully lifting the blockade and establishing normal relations.

"I do believe that end is in the very near future", he said.

One of the major changes in the policy directive is that USA travelers making educational people-to-people trips can no longer go to Cuba individually but must travel in groups accompanied by a company representative.

The Cuban government has withstood the USA trade embargo for more than a half century and will not make any political concessions to the United States due to economic pressure, said Mr Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat. Mr. Ferrer's group supported the Obama opening in December 2014, believing that recognition by the United States would deprive dictator Raúl Castro of his old excuse - Yankee hostility - for political repression.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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