He also makes it more difficult for US citizens to travel to the island
HAVANA TIMES – US President Donald Trump announced today in Miami the “cancellation” of the policy toward Cuba of his predecessor, Barack Obama, despite the fact that the measures he is about to implement are far from reversing the historical approach implemented by the Democrat.
To effectively prevent any possibility of US tourism to the island and try to keep dollars from reaching the government of Raul Castro are at the center of the changes, reported dpa news.
But many of Obama’s moves remain. The embassies, which reopened in 2015 after more than 50 years of disruption of diplomatic relations, will continue to function. Direct commercial flights and cruises will continue. [Of course this will also depend on the flow of passengers under the new restrictions.]
Remittances from the United States will continue to flow. To the disappointment of thousands of Cubans in third countries and others wishing to emigrate, Trump will not reinstate the policy of “dry feet, wet feet,” which guaranteed residence to Cubans who managed to enter US territory by any means.
“I am canceling the completely unilateral agreement with Cuba from the previous administration,” he said at a Little Havana theater, the historic neighborhood of Cuban exiles in Miami, filled by Cuban-Americans, including veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasions.
With a deeply anti-Castro language not listened to since the presidency of George W. Bush, Trump said he will seek to negotiate a better deal for the people of Cuba and the United States.
“Today, Cuba is governed by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to extend their repressive and failed ideology in our hemisphere and who once tried to harbor enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our coast,” said Trump.
“The Castro regime has sent arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela,” he said. “It has supported human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation across the globe.”
The new US policy eliminates any possibility of US citizens legally conducting tourism trips to the island and prohibits US companies from doing business with Cuban companies controlled by the military and the secret services.
The latter measure is targeted at GAESA, the business arm of the Cuban armed forces, which US experts estimate controls around 60 percent of the island’s economy and 80 percent of the tourism sector.
Trump spoke of a “strengthening of the embargo,” flexibilized by Obama with executive orders before the impossibility to lift it due to the opposition in the Congress. “Our new policy begins with strict compliance with US law,” Trump said.
US citizens were banned from outright tourism in Cuba even under Obama. However, the former president relaxed the procedures by which they can rely on 12 ways to travel there. Trump now eliminates the fact that they are eligible for the “people to people” program, which officially has educational and cultural objectives but in reality has served as undercover tourism. Organized groups with strict rules can continue to use this modality.
Questions and Answers from the US Treasury Department.
Read the Cuban government’s reaction here.