Trump rolls back 'terrible, misguided' Obama policies

Posted June 18, 2017

Trump's address in Miami announced changes in the United States' policy toward Cuba after the Obama administration made a decision to normalize relations with the island nation following a decades-long freeze of diplomatic ties.

Anti-President Donald Trump protester chants anti-Trump slogans during the president's visit to the Manuel Artime Theater, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami.

Saying that the aim was to fix what Trump has called a "bad deal" struck by Obama, U.S. officials said the new administration would leave the door open to improved relations if Cuba undertakes democratic reforms such as allowing free elections and releasing political prisoners.

While tourism to Cuba is banned by US law, the Obama administration had been allowing people to travel to Cuba as part of "people to people" educational trips for visitors, a popular classification that a White House official said was "ripe for abuse" by those looking for beach vacations.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump speaks about Cuba policy, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami.

Trump and the Cuban-American Congress members who helped design the new policy pledged on Friday that it would block the flow of US cash toward military-linked enterprises and direct it toward independent businesses, with the long-term aim of overturning President Raul Castro's government.

After stressing that Cuba has not renounced to any of those principles nor will it renounce, the Government reiterates its willingness to pursue a respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest, as well as maintaining negotiation on pending bilateral matters with the U.S. Government.

Many government officials and their supporters saw the Obama policy as an attempt to lull Cuba into complacency and undermine the foundations of a communist system based in part of near-total control of virtually every aspect of society, from animal-rights groups to the film industry. However, 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. Obama and his aides argued that commerce and travel between the countries, which has blossomed since he relaxed the rules, would make his policy irreversible. Harmful changes like these are a prime example of why Congress must act to codify the law and allow open trade and travel with Cuba and the Cuban people.

"I am concerned it will affect the private sector quite a bit and much more than the Cuban government", he said.

"More importantly, as Cuba moves to reform its economy in the post-Castro era, American businesses should be present to lead by example", Marriott's statement said.

"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.

Granma, the official organ of Cuba's Communist Party, described Trump's declarations in real-time blog coverage Friday as "a return to imperialist rhetoric and unilateral demands".

"A backward move for (US-Cuban) relations would bring with it the collapse of many businesses" and "the suffering of all the families that depend on them", they wrote. Cuba's government may not formally respond to Trump's speech until a speech Monday by its foreign minister.

The release goes on to say that the groups feel the rollbacks infringe upon their freedom to sell agricultural goods, as IL farmers value sales with the island nation.

"Today is a major setback for global relations, NAFSA, our allies and the Cuban and American people". "On the other hand, we think we've achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba and its treatment of people", he said, "and it has little incentive to change that".

Trump asserted that the U.S. will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country's "great, great future, a country of great potential".