President Donald Trump plans to roll back the Obama administration’s Cuba policy and cut any cash flow to the country’s military. The president doesn’t plan to bring any changes to the two countries’ diplomatic and commercial relationships.
On Friday, the U.S. leader said the changes are an effort to honor a campaign pledge to roll back his predecessor’s softening stance on the relation with the communist regime after years of estrangement.
According to official reports, Obama’s generosity has enriched Cuba’s armed forced, while repression got worse on the island. Nevertheless, Trump will dismantle Obama’s policies only partially. The U.S. will commit to making sure that the U.S. travel to the island does not include firearms transactions with the defense industry which runs a large portion of the Cuban economy.
Yet, restrictions on private travel will severely impact Cuba’s business sector, which Trump wants to support. For instance, under the new changes, there will be a full-fledged ban on U.S. payments to the military-backed GAESA, a Cuban conglomerate that manages dozens of restaurants, hotels, and other venues.
U.S. Travelers Will Not Be Able to Travel on Their Own
American tourists will be asked not to visit the country on their own. They will have to travel through American companies as part of organized groups. To date, Cuba asked tour groups to employ Cuban guides and use buses that are run by the Cuban government. This monopoly encouraged tourists to spend all their money on products and services provided by state enterprises.
Under the Obama administration, tourists were allowed to travel solo and use the services of private taxi drivers, restaurant and hotel owners. Trump announced that he won’t close the U.S. Embassy in Havana which was reopened two years ago. The president won’t be altering the previous administration’s decision to end the “wet foot, dry foot” policy which enabled illegal immigrants from Cuba to become legal residents.
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