June 24, 2017

Cuba-US relations: 6 key things you need to know

16 June 2017, 06:12 | Elizabeth Houston

First U.S. Flight Since 1959 Lands in Cuba

First U.S. Flight Since 1959 Lands in Cuba

Trump is expected to leave the USA embassy in Havana and will not bring back the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that allowed Cuban migrants who made it to the stay in the country, a policy Obama eliminated in the final days of his presidency.

A White House Official suggested Trump saying the Homeland Security should ban the U.S trade with Cuba linked entity to the military. As President Donald Trump is expected to announce a reversal o.

President Barack Obama's decision to partially unwind the Cuba sanctions program was driven by an understandable desire to relax that program.

The Trump administration said the new policy, which goes into effect Friday, does not target Cuban people, but rather the military regime.

Asked how Trump's past business interest in Cuba could affect his thinking on USA policy, the White House referred comment to the Trump company. His aides contend that Obama's easing of USA restrictions has done nothing to advance political freedoms in Cuba, while benefiting the Cuban government financially.

The group trips would require USA visitors to travel with a guide from an educational group-a requirement the Obama policy had lifted. The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans. The Havana U.S embassy will stay open.

This policy would be similar to the previous policy which the Obama Administration eventually lifted, although the State Department was the government agency auditing and monitoring that travelers met requirements for Cuba. The venue is named after a leader of the failed US -backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 against Fidel Castro's revolutionary government.

Gary Prevost, a professor emeritus at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, talked about what that would mean for Cuba and for the U.S.

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Critics said the changes would only hurt everyday Cubans who work in the private sector and depend on American visitors to help provide for their families.

Any shift in Washington's policy on its relations with Cuba would come to a dead end and have a direct impact on the progress made towards normalizing bilateral ties, a Cuban expert said Wednesday.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Cuban leader Raul Castro were restoring diplomatic ties between their countries, arguing that the policy the US had pursued for decades had failed to bring about change and that it was time to try a new approach.

The United States still officially prohibits its citizens from visiting Cuba as tourists. 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. The new Trump policy will require greater documentation. Even among Cuban-Americans in South Florida, almost two-thirds want to lift the US embargo. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Thursday.

The son of a Cuban immigrant, Rubio opposed Obama's re-engagement with Cuba, saying Obama was making concessions to an "odious regime". "Rubio and his wife, who was, by the way, lovely, and we had a very good discussion about Cuba because we have very similar views on Cuba", Trump said, adding that "Cuban people" were "very good" to him in the 2016 election. Those heading to the airport Friday can also expect slowdowns on State Road 836, the Dolphins Expressway, as Trump arrives and departs from MIA, as well as possible delayed flights to accommodate Air Force One.

Even with carve outs, the new policy could pose problems for some U.S. businesses, including hoteliers and airlines who have put on regular flights between the USA and the Cuban capital. Cuba's authoritarian one-party system remains largely unchanged, and dissidents say government repression has increased over the past two years. Engage Cuba has estimated that a rollback in U.S. -Cuba relations would represent a loss of $6.6 billion and 12,295 jobs in the U.S.

It's unclear, and likely will be until the policy is formally enacted within 90 days of tomorrow, just how strict the enforcement will be, but it could make it illegal to purchase Cuban cigars and rum, as both businesses are owned, at least partially, by the government. The venue, a former church, is named after one of the leaders of the Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs veterans whose group endorsed Trump last October.

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