The Villages Sun Times: Trump Reversal Threatens US-Cuba relations

The Village Sun Times

http://thevillagessuntimes.com/2017/06/26/trump-reversal-threatens-us-cuba-relations/

President George W. Bush cracked down on academic travel to Cuba, virtually stopping study overseas to the island, but regulations promulgated by President Obama in 2011 and 2014 opened the way for vastly expanded academic exchanges, as did the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba in July 2015.

Officials briefing journalists about the new policy were asked why human rights concerns had led to punitive measures in Cuba's case but were not playing a role in the administration's policy to other notable human rights offenders, like the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

What followed over the next two years was the most significant change in US-Cuban relations since the 1959 revolution.

The revised Cuba policy is aimed at stopping the flow of USA cash to the country's military and security services, the White House announced.

Amongst things not expected to be affected by Trump's new policy: the embassy in Havana will remain an embassy, remittances will still be allowed to be sent to Cuba and agricultural and medical business will still be allowed.

"He's not opposed to any deal with Cuba-he's opposed to a bad deal, and this starts the process of making it clear to the regime that there are very specific benchmarks that there needs to be if they want to continue this kind of relationship", the official added. Sources have told ABC News Trump will likely redefine trade and travel policy, so you will have to prove your reason for travel instead of using the honor code.

That brings us to the second facet of Trump's rollback of former President Obama's engagement with communist Cuba.

Eliminating that category - in which individuals can travel to Cuba alone and not as part of an organized tour group, which has the "highest risk of potential abuse", an official said - still leaves 11 other categories under which Americans can visit Cuba legally.

The alleged justification for the new policy is that it will pressure the Cuban dictatorship to give concessions on human rights and political liberalization.

A Morning Consult poll released by the group Engage Cuba earlier this week said that 65% of voters surveyed support Obama's Cuba policy, including 64% of Republicans.

The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and placed an official embargo against the country in 1962.

When asked why the administration is setting up stricter regulations on trade and travel with Cuba over human rights after visiting Saudi Arabia during Mr Trump's first official visit overseas, White House officials said that the administration plans on fighting for human rights. As a Cuban-American, Sen.

President Donald Trump will announce new restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba.

"Cuba has failed to improve its own human rights record, political opponents continue to be imprisoned, dissidents continue to be jailed, women continue to be harassed", he said.