Trump's announcement on Cuba followed up an earlier campaign promise of his, which was, "enforce the ban on tourism, enforce the embargo, we will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people so they can open private business and begin to build their country's great, great future".
Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" with the U.S. on topics of mutual interest.
"Last year I promised to be a voice against repression in our region", Trump said, "and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people".
It regretted "a reversal in relations between the two countries". 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. "Officially, today, they are rejected".
Trump said the United States will not negotiate a new deal with Cuba until it releases the political prisoners it claims it does not have, turns over fugitives from American justice, hands over military criminals, respects freedom of assembly and expression and holds free and fair elections. Trump's approach is aimed at halting the flow of USA cash to the country's military while maintaining diplomatic relations.
"The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo" imposed since 1962, according to a statement read on Cuban state television.
It is not clear if Trump's directive would affect more than 20 agreements signed by the two countries in recent years.
The embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open and fully operational.
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Commercial flights and cruise liners will still be allowed to ferry Americans to the island nation 90 miles south of Florida, but passengers will face the threat of a Treasury audit if they do not have a government-approved reason to be there.
The change in the USA posture toward Cuba under Trump marks the latest policy about-face by the president.
Remittances from people in America to Cubans are not to be cut off. Once implemented Trump's policy is expected to curtail U.S.travel by creating a maze of rules for Americans to obey. He called out Cuba for helping fund rogue states, terrorism, and imprisoning its people who want freedom.
Hard-line exiles agreed with Trump's move to roll back some of the changes by restricting commerce with entities linked to Cuba's military, restoring tougher travel rules and other moves in hopes of forcing Cuba toward democracy.
But the changes would ultimately meet four objectives, according to the White House: Ensure compliance with US law, hold the Cuban government accountable for alleged human rights abuses, further the interests of the USA and the Cuban people, and "empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty". "They will not manage to weaken the Revolution, nor defeat the Cuban people".
"We can not continue to bring concessions to the Cuban government", he said.
Germany yesterday lashed out at Washington over new sanctions against Russian Federation that target the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe. "We know what's going on and we remember what happened".
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