President Donald Trump will today announce plans to roll back former President Obama’s 2015 rapprochement with Cuba. Trump, who has in the past criticized Obama’s decision to re-establish relations with the nation, will announce new restrictions on trade and travel to the country, undoing the work of his predecessor.
According to the Guardian, under President Trump’s plans, diplomatic relations with Cuba will remain in place, and so will commercial flights to the country. However, travel to and from Cuba will now be more tightly monitored, whilst businesses will be restricted from doing trade that could benefit Cuban military and intelligence organizations.
The White House insists that its new approach toward Cuba won’t target the country’s citizens, but instead, aims to prevent funding to oppressive elements of the country’s government.
According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump will travel to Miami, at the heart of the Cuban exile community in Little Havana, to announce the new policy approach. During campaign rallies in Florida ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Trump consistently promised to tighten restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba.
Following secret talks conducted with the help of the Vatican City, Barack Obama announced a new approach to Cuba in 2015. Regarded as his administration’s signature foreign policy achievement, Obama ended a trade embargo that had been in place for over half a century in a bid to strengthen ties with the neighbouring communist nation. In March 2016, the then-president made a landmark trip to the country’s capital, Havana, as the first president to do so in nearly a century.
As part of the travel restrictions lifted by the Obama administration in 2015, Americans could for the first time travel to Cuba for educational, professional, humanitarian, sporting, artistic, or trade purposes, but explicitly not for general tourism. However, the Trump administration claims that the policy is being abused and will now be more closely monitored to prevent travel for tourism.
That said, with an estimated 400,000 Americans expected to visit the island this year, the White House says that those who have already booked trips before the new policy takes effect, will still be able to visit the island. However, traveling to Cuba in the future is expected to again become more difficult under changes imposed by the Trump administration.
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