Donald Trump to restrict Cuba travel and trade in latest Obama rollback


Companies including agricultural equipment maker Deere & Co. and soybean processor Bunge Ltd., along with the federation, the biggest USA farmer group, have supported full farm trade. "US companies' economic interest in investing in Cuba would also be limited", Esteban Morales, a professor at the University of Havana, told Xinhua.

Donald Trump is expected to announce a shift in his administration's relationship with Cuba tomorrow and tighten restrictions on travel and trade that were loosened under Barack Obama, a congressional source told NPR.

The primary goal, according to the White House, is to push the Cuban government to adopt stronger human rights protections, to release political prisoners, and to ensure that any economic advancement benefits the Cuban people instead of the military.

But there's also the hope among some White House officials that changes will jumpstart a new round of negotiations that could lead to a deal that's more to Trump's liking.

Even opponents of Obama's policy said they didn't expect much from Trump's proposal.

American travellers hoping to take a trip to Cuba are going to have a hard time doing so going forward, roughly a year after airlines opened up commercial flight routes to Havana. Nearly certainly, Trump will not reinstate the "wet foot/dry foot" policy that allowed undocumented Cubans who arrived on US soil to remain there, while returning those detained at sea to Cuba. For more than five decades, a succession of US presidents - cowed by the right-wing Cuban community in Florida - enforced an economic embargo even though the policy increasingly isolated the USA from its neighbors in the hemisphere and its allies around the world.

Those travels and visitors' ability to use Cuba's military-run bank are not believed to be affected by the Trump changes, though the Herald reports that the administration's new policy will include a broad restriction on interactions with the military branch that runs the majority of Cuba's economy.

Trump will issue a presidential memorandum when he delivers his speech at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami's Little Havana district, the heart of America's Cuban-American and Cuban exile community.

The agriculture sector has long advocated an end to the trade embargo with Cuba in place since Fidel Castro consolidated power in the early 1960s. The review included several interested parties including the Treasury Department, the State Department, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Transportation.

Americans will still be able to visit Cuba, though they will need special visas of which enforcement will become much stricter, but they will not be able to spend any money at a business owned by a GAESA, other than a few exceptions, notably airports. "Cites HR concerns in Cuba and leading HR group opposes him acting", Rhodes tweeted on Tuesday, noting that the group Human Rights Watch said reversing Obama's actions "will not improve respect for human rights on the island". That seems odd given that the Trump administration is not particularly fond of pursuing that agenda in its foreign policy: there was no mention of human rights and political freedom during his visit to Saudi Arabia, for example.

Some aides have argued that Trump, a former real estate magnate who won the presidency promising to unleash US business and create jobs, would have a hard time defending any moves that close off the Cuban market.

But other advisers have contended that it is important to make good on a promise to Cuban-Americans whose support they considered significant in winning Florida in the 2016 election. That changed in 2014 during the first round of normalization when travelers returning from Cuba were allowed to bring up to $100 worth of Cuban alcohol and tobacco products back.