Trump will undo Obama's detente with Cuba

Tourist trips to Cuba have been illegal since the Kennedy administration and remained off-limits under Obama.
By Kristy Douglas | Jun 16, 2017
President Trump is expected to announce a Cuba policy shift that largely return Cuba-U.S. relations to their pre-Obama days. Trump's new Cuba plan will restore restrictions on doing business with Cuban government or military entities, and to do away with the easing of travel restrictions that President Obama had put in effect in 2014.

Tourist trips to Cuba have been illegal since the Kennedy administration and remained off-limits under Obama. But Obama did widen the criteria for educational exchanges between the United States and Cuba. Trump's plan is likely to restrict many of these exchanges and may tighten the rules for private business activities, as well.

"My administration's policy will be guided by key U.S. national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people, " reads a draft of the presidential directive. "I will seek to promote a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people. To that end, we must ensure that U.S. funds are not channeled to a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) had a lead role in drafting the plan. Rubio told the Miami Herald that he considered Obama's open-door approach to Cuba too conciliatory and unlikely to encourage the Cuban communist regime to reform.

"I'm trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes. I'm also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government," Rubio told reporters.

News of this plan comes several months after reports broke of Trump's interest from the first days of his administration in easing sanctions against Russia. State Department sources told reporters that Trump officials had pressed them to draft proposals for Russia sanctions relief but dropped the requests in the face of strong State Department pushback.

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