Trump finds some resistance to reversing Cuba policy

Tampa Bay Times 


WASHINGTON - With President Donald Trump set to announce changes to Cuba policy Friday in Miami, proponents of open relations are mounting a counter effort.


“It is clear that human rights abuses persist in Cuba and we all seek a solution to these troubling abuses,” Republican Sens. Jeff Flake, Mike Enzi and John Boozman wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

“However, before we consider revoking reforms that have benefited U.S. citizens, everyday Cubans, and the U.S. economy, we write to offer the following points for consideration,” the letter states, naming increased travel to Cuba by Americans that supports the local economy, business opportunity and fostering national security.

“Taking steps that lead to little benefit while jeopardizing this comprehensive progress is counterproductive,” the letter reads.

A group of Republican House members — none from Florida — have also urged Trump against undoing the policies of President Barack Obama.

"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,” said James Williams of Engage Cuba. “If the President is willing to negotiate with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the Philippines, why not Cuba?”

Trump is considering several changes, including limits on travel. He has been encouraged by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, the Miami Republicans who were sharply critical of President Obama's moves on Cuba.

“We are in the final stages of our Cuba policy review,” a White House spokeswoman tells the Buzz. “However, a final decision on a path forward has not yet been made.”