On Friday, President Trump spoke in Miami, delivering a strong speech targeting the Cuban Communist government, but still accepting some of former President Obama’s changes in America’s dealings with Cuba.
According to The Washington Post, Trump’s rhetoric was strong, with statements such as “With God’s help a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve … We now hold the cards. The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade do not help the Cuban people. They only enrich the Cuban regime. Last year, I promised to be a voice against repression … and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people. You heard that pledge … and here I am.”
Trump boasted, “I am canceling the previous administration’s completely one-sided deal,” yet the embassies opened by Obama in Havana and Washington D.C. will be maintained.
Indeed, there were some functional changes Trump wants to implement, including a ban on commercial dealings with Cuba’s military, which Obama had allowed to exist.
But unlimited “family” travel to Cuba and money sent to private Cubans on the island, policies accepted by Obama, will remain in place. Individual self-directed travel to Cuba will be banned, but trips for specific educational, government, religious, and social purposes would still be allowed.
Myron Brilliant, the executive vice-president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued against Trump’s proposals, saying, “U.S. private-sector engagement can be a positive force for the kind of change we all wish to see in Cuba. Unfortunately, today’s moves actually limit the possibility for positive change on the island and risk ceding growth opportunities to other countries that, frankly, may not share America’s interest in a free and democratic Cuba that respects human rights. “
An administration official admitted that existing transactions would not be affected; diplomatic relations established by Obama will stay on place.
(H/T The Daily Wire)