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Trump to clamp down on Cuba travel, trade, curbing Obama's detente

18 Juin 2017

The Cuban News Agency said Trump took "a step backward" in ties with Cuba, by adopting a "unilateral" and "interventionist" stance.

He clamped down on some commerce and travel, but left intact many new avenues former United States president Barack Obama had opened.

His aides contend that Obama's easing of US restrictions amounted to "appeasement" and has done nothing to advance political freedoms in Cuba, while benefiting the Cuban government financially.

Barack Obama attempted to thaw relations by loosening trade and tourism bans.

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.

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.

"A Cuban small businessman should not be obliged to buy from the only wholesaler that exists now, which is the state", he said.

"Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba - whether by pressure or imposition or through more subtle means - is destined to fail", it said. Trump has labelled the initial deal "completely one-sided".

And in symbolism that will not be lost in Havana, his crowd included veterans of the ill-fated Brigade 2506, which in 1961 launched the failed US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. Other dissidents agree repression has worsened but say rolling back the detente, which will hurt ordinary Cubans, is not the solution. Can people still travel to the country? They are still starving and there is no freedom whatsoever. "We do see the benefits of that to the Cuban people".

"I am 100% Republican".

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Trump will announce his new approach early Friday afternoon at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami's Little Havana, the heart of America's largest Cuban-American community, whose support aides believe helped him win Florida in the election. In practice, however, many recent changes to boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are.

In addition, the U.S. government is to police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities". Importantly, the Trump administration wants to build good rapport with both.

"I am against the embargo".

Hundreds packed the rickety Manuel Artime Theater - from recently arrived dissidents fleeing Raul Castro's rule, to older veterans of failed Central Intelligence Agency covert operations and the new generation of Cuban-American US lawmakers.

In one form or another, the embargo on Cuba has been in place since the Eisenhower administration.

1959: Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro leads a guerrilla army into Havana overthrowing the Batista regime. USA airlines and cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island 90 miles south of Florida.

Trump's declaration in a crowded, sweltering auditorium was a direct rebuke to Obama, for whom the diplomatic opening with Cuba was a central accomplishment of his presidency.

Perlmutter noted that he accompanied Obama on his historic trip to Cuba in March 2016, when the Arvada Democrat applauded potential new business, tourism and cultural opportunities. He expresses hope the embargo will be ended, but it can only be lifted by the US Congress which is controlled by Republicans who oppose the move.

"President Trump promised that he would repeal everything Obama had done with Cuba", said Valladares, who was appointed ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Trump to clamp down on Cuba travel, trade, curbing Obama's detente