"It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration's awful and misguided deal with the Castro regime", Trump said during the speech, adding, "[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". The reason: those were the visits most ripe for abuse by yanquis hoping to circumvent the law that prohibits US tourist travel to Cuba.
President Trump's decision to rewind some of America's two and a half years of openness with Cuba will not be a wholesale retrenchment of President Obama's policies, many of which are favored by the business community and among advocates for trade and commerce with the tiny island dictatorship.
The new limits on USA business deals will target the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, including hotels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Sen. Marco Rubio, who claims credit for writing the Trump policy along with a fellow Cuban-American and Florida Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, tweeted Friday that individual American travelers will still be able to go to Cuba for the goal of supporting the Cuban people, a category that includes helping human rights organizations and non-governmental groups meant to strengthen democracy and civil society. But because Cuban rules require tour groups to have government guides and use state-run tour buses, the requirement has given the Cuban government near-total control of travelers' itineraries and funneled much of their spending to state enterprises.
But national polls continue to show a large majority of Americans favored the Obama administration's executive decision to normalize diplomatic relations, and almost as many supported Obama's unsuccessful effort to persuade Congress to lift the trade embargo, according to the Pew Research Center.
The U.S. Embassy in Havana, which reopened in August 2015, will remain as a full-fledged diplomatic outpost, though likely without an ambassador.
Despite Obama's rapprochement policy, the damaging embargo remains in place preventing American companies from importing Cuban goods or exporting to the island nation. US travelers are engaging in what amounts to illegal tourism, but they are also pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts that are driving the growth of Cuba's nascent private sector. No tangible changes will go into effect until the agencies create those regulations. That process will take about 30 days to initiate, and then, an unforeseen amount of time from there.
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Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Cuban leader Raul Castro were restoring diplomatic ties between their countries, arguing that a new approach was needed because the policy the us had pursued for decades had failed to democratize the island. It spent subsequent decades trying to either overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening an economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba", Trump said. Even among Cuban-Americans in South Florida, almost two-thirds want to lift the US embargo. Marco Rubio - who were experts on Cuba policy.
Will Trump vent to Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on the way down?
"The president has tasked his cabinet to work together to find ways to improve what we considered President Obama's bad deal, and we're very excited about the result that the president will unveil tomorrow, and I think more details of that will be forthcoming", the official said. The senator, who challenged Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, was expected to travel with the president aboard Air Force One and appear with him at Friday's announcement.
"We will respect Cuban sovereignty, but we will never turn our backs to the Cuban people", Trump said, tempering his remarks with the statement that the United States believes in "free, independent and sovereign nations" that have the right to chart their own path.
The Cuban government has withstood the US trade embargo for more than a half century and will not make any political concessions to the United States due to economic pressure, said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat.
If progress on Trump's decision to step back in this area is confirmed, the announcement could lead to numerous rejection reactions at the worldwide level, according to several analysts.