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Trump restores some Cuba penalties, rejecting 'oppressors'

Trump restores some Cuba penalties, rejecting 'oppressors'”

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he walks to board Marine One departing from the White House en route to Miami to announce his Cuba policy, in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 16, 2017.

How strictly the United States will enforce the restrictions will depend on the regulations federal agencies write - and whether the Cuban government tries to work around them.

President Donald Trump announced new restrictions Friday limiting USA citizens' ability to travel to and do business in Cuba, moving to roll back a historic rapprochement led by the Obama administration that he frequently targeted on the campaign trail. He said penalties on Cuba would remain in place until its government releases political prisoners, stops abusing dissidents and respects freedom of expression.

While tourism is still officially prohibited, since only Congress can lift the almost 55-year-embargo still in place on Cuba, the Obama administration loosened the rules - and enforcement - to allow individual, "people-to-people" travel. "Officially, today, they are rejected".

The new policy aims to starve military-linked businesses of cash by banning any US payments to them.

Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. US airlines and cruise ships would still be allowed to service the island.

"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.

And while his policy has the stated aim of helping the country's nascent private sector, it contains a measure that could damage thousands of small-business people who host, feed and transport independent American travelers to Cuba. And the US government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities".

"The bill has 55 total cosponsors and I am convinced it would pass the Senate with upwards of 70 votes", Flake said in a statement.

In contentious deliberations leading up to the new policy, some aides argued that Trump, a former real estate magnate who won the presidency vowing to unleash US business, would have a hard time defending any moves that close off the Cuban market.

The new policy bans most USA business transactions with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group, a Cuban conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy.

"U.S. private sector engagement can be a positive force for the kind of change we all wish to see in Cuba", said Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and head of worldwide affairs.

Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican lawmaker from Arizona, said in a statement that any policy change that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba "is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people".

The Castro government is certain to reject Trump's list of demands, which includes releasing political prisoners, halting what the USA says is abuse of dissidents and greater freedom of expression.

"We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer", Trump said.

President Donald Trump has demanded that Cuba return a woman convicted in the murder of a New Jersey state trooper.

Cuban-born poet Armando Valladares, who was imprisoned for 22 years by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, said at a weekly luncheon of Cuban exiles that he is vexed that not all of Obama's changes were rolled back.

Still, the president's moves are not created to massively disrupt existing commercial ties that have grown between the USA and Cuba since the Obama administration moved to restore diplomatic ties in late 2014.

The venue is named after a leader of the failed USA -backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 against Fidel Castro's revolutionary government. His excuse was completely disingenuous: "Trump decides to draw a line at Cuba's human rights policies?"

Cuba functioned as a virtual US colony for much of the 20th century, and even reform-minded Cubans are highly sensitive to perceived USA infringements on national sovereignty. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have shown no interest in doing so.

During an appearance in Miami, the president said his policy intends to take money out of the hands of the Cuban military.



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