President Trump is expected to announce changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba next Friday in Miami, according to reports.
The administration has been evaluating Cuba policy for several months. Trump has criticized former President Obama’s decision to relax trade restrictions and re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump pledged on Twitter last November.
Critics of Obama’s decision have said easing restrictions supports Cuban President Raúl Castro’s regime.
The specifics of Trump’s plan have not been announced. However, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) reportedly advised the administration, and both are strongly against relaxing relationships with Cuba.
“The Cuban people deserve a government that peacefully upholds democratic values, economic liberties, religious freedoms, and human rights, and my administration is committed to achieving that vision,” Trump said last month.
On Friday, two pro-Cuba Republican groups in the House and Senate sent letters to the White House asking for trade and relations with Cuba to remain open.
“Reversing course would incentivize Cuba to once again become dependent on countries like Russia and China. Allowing this to happen could have disastrous results for the security of the United States,” seven House Republicans wrote to Trump, according to ABC.
"If President Trump wants a ‘better deal’ for the Cuban people, it would be a shame if he rolls back our policy before he even comes to the table. If the president is willing to negotiate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the Philippines, why not Cuba?” James Williams, president of the non-profit advocacy group Engage Cuba asked in a statement following the reports predicting Trump will rollback some aspects of current U.S. policy.