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16 June 2017, 06:14 | Audrey Hill
First U.S. Flight Since 1959 Lands in Cuba
The directive means that Americans can no longer travel to Cuba from the US. But he will impose new limits on commercial transactions that involve the Cuban military.
Cuban authorities have acceded to some American conditions, including allowing a dramatic expansion of Internet access on the island that has shattered the information monopoly once enjoyed by Cuba's state-run media.
But Trump's planned rollback of Obama's policy has drawn opposition from American businesses and the travel industry, which have begun making inroads on the island, as well as many lawmakers, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans.
The president will ban United States tourist travel to the island, restate the importance of the trade embargo and institute a broad prohibition on financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military, according to Politico, which got a draft version of the new policy.
The congressman purportedly backed House Republicans' legislation on health care in March in exchange for Trump's tougher stance on Cuba, The New York Times and other news media have reported.
The policy changes won't take effect immediately, so Americans with plans to travel to Cuba in the near future won't be affected.
Trump's new directive "will include ending the individual, people-to-people travel" sub-category, senior officials told reporters. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers have called for expanding relations with the island.
However, travel between the two countries is easier now than it has been in more than half a century thanks to a "general license", which allows travelers to claim they are visiting family or engaging in business, cultural, religious or educational activities. Pence, who will also be accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is expected to give the keynote speech at the event and remain in Miami through Trump's speech Friday. And travelers seeking "people-to-people" contact will have to sign up with an organized tour group.
While U.S. citizens are not free to vacation in Cuba, Obama did relax travel restrictions.
The powerful Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A also runs most foreign hotels, meaning that Marriott's Starwood Hotels could lose the special license from the Obama administration it got to operate in Havana. The military's business arm owns vast real estate and financial holdings touching almost every corner of Cuba's economy, making deals with them hard to avoid. Airlines will still be allowed to pay landing fees at Cuban airports, for example.
"Rural America has benefited from the opening to Cuba, and we want that progress to continue", U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, said Thursday in a statement.
Advocates say this will help Cuba in bringing the improvements in human rights in more than 50 years. "That has also happened as a result of normalization and I just can't imagine backtracking on something like that".
Some skeptics have argued that the policy is largely aimed at President Barack Obama, whose administration substantially loosened regulations regarding Cuba during his second term.
Cuban-American GOP lawmakers, Sen.
Taking a tougher approach against Cuba after promising to do so during the presidential campaign, Trump will make clear that a ban on USA tourism to Cuba remains in effect and his administration will beef up enforcement of travel rules under authorized categories, the officials said. He's embraced the Philippines' Duterte, who boasts of extra-judicial killings, and granted Egypt's president a White House welcome, to say nothing of a bromance with Vladimir Putin that would make Oliver Stone blush.
Restricting travel to Cuba will likely impact earnings for the U.S. airlines and cruise ship companies that began service to Cuba in 2016 and go against a rising anti-travel sanctions sentiment.
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