Sen. Murphy: Trump's Policy is to 'Do the Opposite'

Posted June 19, 2017

Almost two years after President Barack Obama restored USA diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Donald Trump is poised to roll them back. Ensconced in think tanks in Washington and NY, or in the private sector on both coasts, the Obama alumni network has become a diaspora of the disappointed as Trump tries to make good on his promises to upend much of what they had worked to accomplish.

The new realities of U.S.travel to Cuba will be determined by the regulations that federal agencies will produce as a result of the new policy.

"The US President, ill-advised once again, takes decisions that favor the political interests of an extremist minority of Cuban origin in the state of Florida, who driven by petty motivation, do not desist from their objective to punish Cuba and its people for exercising the legitimate and sovereign right to be free and for having taken the reins of their own destiny", the statement said. Hard-line exiles agreed with Trump's move to roll back some of the changes by restricting commerce with entities linked to Cuba's military, restoring tougher travel rules and other moves in hopes of forcing Cuba toward democracy.

"We do not want USA dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba", Trump said. A new generation is coming to power in Cuba and a new generation of Cuban-Americans is rising in Florida. But it makes some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, according to United States officials.

"People-to-people" tour companies needed special licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department and were regularly audited and faced steep fines or loss of licenses for allowing travelers to engage in tourism.

While Obama did not end the embargo on Cuba, since only Congress has that power, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in each other's capitals for the first time since 1961.

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US visitors may face more questioning from authorities when they return home from Cuba.

The president said he was canceling former President Barack Obama's "terrible and misguided deal" liberalizing ties with Havana.

"We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer", Trump said.

Trump, however, stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostilities.

"New restrictions on engagement with Cuban economy only pushes Cuba to China and Russian Federation who will gladly make up the difference", argued former White House official Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama's Cuba policy.

The White House told the Post that the shift wasn't meant to "disrupt existing transactions that have [already] occurred", and a Trump Hotels spokesperson emphasized that it is "not doing any deals internationally".

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Still, it will be the latest attempt by Trump to overturn parts of Obama's presidential legacy. "With the United States, there is no tranquility".

"More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba", Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that Obama's trip to Cuba last year opened the door to "scrutiny and transparency" of human rights on the island for the first time in almost 10 years.

Critics of the rapprochement said Obama was giving too much away without extracting concessions from the Cuban government.

"Any strategy to change the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether through pressure. or through more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure". In addition, civil liberties must be respected, private property rights must be assured and steps must be taken to compensate USA citizens and corporations for properties seized by the Cuban government after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

However, on closer inspection, even this doesn't make any sense. "In less than an hour he showed Cubans how US policy works". The Cuban government, which has made clear it will not be pressured into reforms, had no immediate comment. Obama concluded that the Cold War policy had failed, and sought a policy of détente with Havana.

In his memo on the new policy, Trump expressed support for the embargo, including opposing any measures at the United Nations or other worldwide institutions calling for the end of the embargo, which has been in effect for more than half a century.

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