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Trump to restrict business with Cuban military, limit travel

19 June 2017

Former President Obama re-established diplomatic ties, ended the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that gave Cuban illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, made it easier to do business on the island, and loosened travel restrictions.

The White House said the Obama administration left too many loopholes, or chose not to enforce certain rules, that resulted in benefits to the Cuban military or intelligence agencies.

US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro (L) in New York, September 29, 2015.

The new policy will prohibit Americans from spending money at businesses owned by the Cuban military through its Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A. (GAESA), the most powerful company in Cuba.

According to the Presidential Memorandum that will be announced on Friday-but has already been leaked to Reuters, among other news outlets-the usa will not be entirely cutting itself off from Cuba once again, but will be tightening restrictions in keeping with campaign promises Trump made both to voters and to power brokers in the Republican party.

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The president will ban USA tourist travel to the island, restate the importance of the trade embargo and institute a broad prohibition on financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military, according to Politico, which got a draft version of the new policy. The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans. "It puts these private businesses at an advantage, because Americans can only spend money with them, not the military monopoly".

Selling Cuban cigars, importing Cuban cigars and having Cuban cigars shipped to America remain illegal.

Trump isn't overturning Obama's decision to end the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that allowed most Cuban migrants who made it onto USA soil to stay and eventually become legal permanent residents.

A tour bus of Transgaviota drives past the USA embassy in Havana, Cuba June 13, 2017.

"Cuba is an important political topic at the regional level, but it carries little economic weight compared to other issues of interest to Trump", added Torrico, who also coordinates the master's program in public policy at Flacso.

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The Trump administration has promised to reinstate the regulations, citing "human rights" concerns. These Officials claim the new Cuba Policy makes it clear to the Cuban regime that there are very specific benchmarks they need to meet in order to maintain relations. Less than a year later, the U.S. Embassy in Havana re-opened, and Obama paid a historic visit to Havana in 2016.

Trump is right to recalibrate this policy without jettisoning it wholesale. Only the U.S. Congress can lift the embargo, and lawmakers, especially those of Cuban heritage, like Sen.

Early reports from Washington indicate President Trump is vowing to keep his campaign pledge to anti-Castro hardliners in south Florida.

"It is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping", the official said, citing a pledge Trump made to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association as the group endorsed him for president during the campaign previous year. Nor will Cuban-Americans' ability to make unlimited family visits and remittances to Cuba be affected. The policy directive calls for an ironing out of the rules between the various government agencies within 90 days of its announcement, which will take places tomorrow at a Miami theater named after an iconic Cuban dissident.

Donald Trump campaigning at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami in October.

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