Venezuela and Bolivia Decry Trump's Cuba Policy Rollback

18 June, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Malcolm Fuller

-Cuban relations, but said it remained willing to continue "respectful dialogue".

Trump's critics have also questioned why his administration is now singling out Cuba for its human rights record while downplaying the issue in other parts of the world.

"The new policy, announced by the United States president in relation to Cuba, brings us back to the already forgotten rhetoric in the Cold War style". And American firms and citizens will be blocked from doing business with any company controlled by the Cuban military or its intelligence or security services, a move that bars American engagement with important parts of the Cuban economy, among them some parts of the country's tourist sector. American businesses, including airlines, cruise lines, and telecommunications companies, earned 26 agreements with the Cuban government from 2015 to 2017. In practice, however, many recent changes to boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are.

The direct comments, and the stark difference to Trump's silence on other countries, show the President's selective approach to human rights, one that punishes some nations for their abuses while largely ignoring others', at least in public.

Trump told an audience of Cuban-Americans in Miami that he would tighten some restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, though he left in place many of Obama's wide-ranging reforms.

The administration, according to one White House official, has no intention of "disrupting" existing business ventures such as one struck under Obama by Starwood Hotels Inc, which is owned by Marriott International Inc, to manage a historic Havana hotel.

Nor are there plans to reinstate limits that Obama lifted on the amount of the island's coveted rum and cigars that Americans can bring home for personal use. The president announced a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of US cash to the country's military and security services. In his view, it prevents US companies from conducting business with companies controlled by the Cuban military.

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The Cuban government has withstood the USA trade embargo for more than a half century and will not make political concessions to the United States due to economic pressure, said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which once let most Cuban migrants stay if they made it to USA soil but was terminated under Obama, will remain terminated.

The President said it was hard to think of a policy "that makes less sense than the prior administration's awful and misguided deal" with the "brutal" Castro government.

"Further U.S. disengagement opens up opportunities for countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea and China to gain influence on an island 90 miles off our coast", Crawford said.

"Faced with your words, the Cuban people stand up and, their flag held high, sing their war anthem!" said a Facebook post by Jennifer Bello Martinez, the head of Cuba's official Federation of University Students and, at 25, the youngest member of the powerful Council of State.

Trump will announce his new approach early Friday afternoon at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami's Little Havana, the heart of America's largest Cuban-American community, whose support aides believe helped him win Florida in the election. "We're the ones who are hurt", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a private restaurant in Havana. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, when governor of Georgia in 2010, led a delegation to Cuba and said at the time to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I think business cures a lot of ills". Trump's vow to keep the broader decades-old United States economic embargo on Cuba firmly in place drew criticism from some United States farmers, especially growers of corn, soybeans and rice.

"They are cosmetic changes that don't mean anything", he said in Spanish. "It is an offense against Latin America".

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