Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:19

Under Trump's revised policy, while Cubans living in the states still can travel to Cuba, and the USA embassy remains open on Cuban soil, Americans once again are restricted from traveling to the island, and business transactions are also limited.

Nelson Avila, center, joins anti-President Donald Trump protesters, calling for open relations with Cuba on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami.

The Cuban government on Friday evening responded by rejecting what it called Trump's "hostile rhetoric".

"Given whatever difficulties we have and they have, we should be able to work it out through normal diplomatic dialogue and trade relations", Lee said.

During the initial talks between Cuba and the Obama administration, Fox 5 traveled to Havana where Chesimard, who is on the FBI's list of the most wanted terrorists, has been living for almost 30 years.

Trump's freaky stance on Cuba appears to be more a political swipe at President Obama than an authentic criticism.

Speaking in Miami in the state of Florida where a large Cuban diaspora is living the USA president urged the Cuban government to sit to a table of negotiations to come to an agreement that would suit the interests of both Washington and Havana.

Trump said in the speech widely broadcast in Cuba that he was canceling former President Barack Obama's "terrible and misguided deal" with the Communist-run island that aimed to normalize ties after five decades of hostility.

The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the US on a variety of subjects. Rubio said the investigation was the best thing for the country and didn't see it as a witch hunt as the President mentioned on social media last week. For one, embassies will remain open to continue diplomatic relations reignited after years of hostility. This will essentially shield U.S. airlines and cruise lines serving the island.

While Trump gave his speech, a hundred activists about evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the president chanted and held up signs outside the venue, the Manuel Artime Theater, named after a late political leader of Cuban exiles who launched the failed Bay of Pigs uprising in 1961.

There was a time in Florida when the Cuban American community would have reacted to such an announcement with nearly uniform approval. And the USA government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities".

In September 2015, when he was asked about Obama's opening to Cuba, Trump told The Daily Caller, "I think it's fine", while adding that "we should have made a stronger deal". Trump's speech evoked, instead, the Cold War thinking that dominated the USA government's stance toward Cuba for a half-century.

"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban entrepreneurs", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a restaurant in Havana.

Members of Cuba's small but vibrant independent civil society say they fear the new policy will do more harm than good.

"We will never, ever be blind to it", Trump said.

Late last week, President Trump announced a change in United States policy towards the communist dictatorship in Cuba.

It is expected that the Treasury and Commerce Departments will release precise regulations within 30 days. Worse, it may backfire, by shifting world attention away from the Cuban regime's oppression of its people to what Cuba will now claim is a new "U.S. aggression" against the island.

The Trump's new rules prohibit financial transactions with Cuba's military-backed tourism conglomerate GAESA, run by Castro's son-in-law, and an indispensable ally for foreign hotel and cruise brands seeking a foothold.

Castro has announced he will step aside as president in February 2018.