Cuba policy backtrack could cost Alabama $1.5 billion, activists say

A group of activists today said a Trump Administration proposal to reverse President Obama's Cuba policies would cost Alabama $1.5 billion and affect more than 2,200 jobs in the state.

Engage Cuba says those policies would cost the entire U.S. economy about $6.6 billion and affect almost 12,300 jobs during Trump's four-year term. However, Alabama would be disproportionately affected because of its deep water ports and reliance on agriculture, manufacturing and shipping industries, they said.

Engage Cuba identifies itself as a coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba.

The Obama Administration in 2014 moved to end 54 years of hostility between the U.S. and the Caribbean nation, lifting travel, immigration and and trade restrictions that spanned the administrations of 11 U.S. presidents.

Trump is considering reimposing limits on banking, travel and the purchase by Americans of Cuban goods, citing human rights abuses by the Castro regime, according to the New York Times. The proposal is being opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.

James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, said reimposing the policies would abandon a Trump promise to remove "job-killing government regulations on Alabama businesses."

"Our new relationship with Cuba has led to tangible results for Alabama companies, created jobs across the state, and strengthened Cuba's growing private sector," he said. "Reimposing restrictions on traveling to Cuba would force Alabamians to jump through even more bureaucratic hoops to exercise their right to travel freely."