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Trump announces new Cuba policy to cut US business, tourism

17 Juin 2017

"Now that I am your president, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime and stand with the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom", Trump said, announcing a suite of policy changes to roll back initiatives undertaken by former President Barack Obama that have come to be known as the "Cuban Thaw".

The long anticipated policy shift, announced by President Trump at a rally in Miami, effectively eliminates almost all independent or "individual" travel to Cuba without joining a people-to-people group tour. What will happen to the hotel and other agreements between United States corporations and Cuban counterparts owned by the Armed Forces? He asked violinist Luis Haza, whose father was killed under Fidel Castro, to perform The Star-Spangled Banner.

Trump in Miami on June 16, 2017. "Stop jailing innocent people", Trump implored the Cuban regime. Open yourselves to political and economic freedoms. The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel.

There's also no change to the policy allowing US travelers to bring home an unlimited amount of Cuban rum and cigars for personal consumption.

Although the speech didn't include many details on the specific policy, it was critical of the Obama administration's policy.

Exact regulations will not be hammered out for several months. "You have not betrayed us - you kept your promise".

The new policy is only a partial reversal from that of the Obama administration.

Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Miami, said Trump was seeking to make good on a campaign promise to conservative Cuban-Americans that will stop the flow of money from USA businesses to the Cuban military.

"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. "We would urge the Trump administration to support the Cuban people".

Today's actions by President Trump reverses that action and Trump's mentioning of Chesimard is a first from the highest office in the land. So, he's glad President Trump is doing what he's doing. Trump's order simply instructs his administration to begin drafting new rules within 30 days, with no set timeline for completion. But at the San Cristobal Paladar, Márquez anxious about the private sector.

Jason Carlisle, head of Hispanic mobilization for the Southern Baptists' International Mission Board, says the new travel restrictions could slow down the acceleration of US missions trips to the island.

Trump has conspicuously shied away from emphasizing human rights concerns in other countries with similarly dismal records, including Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the day, Vice-President Mike Pence visited Little Havana in Miami to play dominos with Cuban-Americans.

"It will really complicate our neighbors' ability to travel to Cuba. It makes it nearly impossible", Goodman said. Instead, most Americans must now travel with a tour group and are required to keep all receipts and itemized itineraries from their stay for five years.

"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.

"Clearly, it's going to reduce significantly the number of people traveling to Cuba", Baker said.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Obama's Cuba policy "led to more brutality, more repression and more political arrests".

Declaring Obama's pact with Castro a "completely one-sided deal", Trump said he was canceling it.

Politically, the two men savored victory Friday.

Trump announces new Cuba policy to cut US business, tourism