Cuba rejects new US policy, saying pressure will not work

Violet Tucker
June 20, 2017

Also, the majority of Cuban Americans living in Miami - the largest hub of Cuban Americans living in the USA - support the Obama-era Cuba policies, the Miami Herald reports.

It urged the Trump administration to pay attention to the anti-blockade resolutions repeatedly adopted by the UN General Assembly, which represent the nearly unanimous voice of the global community on Cuba.

President Trump's Miami speech on Friday was rooted in the fact that his administration will enforce current law, or the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act. "So, the silver lining is that it's still very much possible to travel to Cuba-the options have simply become more limited". -Cuban relations, saying Trump had been badly advised and was resorting to "coercive methods of the past" that were doomed to fail.

Noting Trump's speech "laden with hostile rhetoric", Cuba said the events in Miami on Friday constituted a "step backwards in the relations between the two countries".

But in Cuba, cutting out the armed forces means undermining the tourism sector, which is largely controlled by GAESA but also supports many small, private businesses. Travel restrictions for Americans were lifted, and they were even permitted to bring back $100-worth of Cuban cigars - a longstanding smuggler's job.

Airports and seaports are exempted from the ban, meaning cruise ship companies and airlines can continue to operate their routes to Cuba.

Russia's foreign ministry yesterday said it regretted US President Donald Trump's policy reversal on Cuba, calling it reminiscent of the Cold War era. The American Soybean Association called the decision "troubling", arguing that "as the farm economy continues to lag, we should be increasing our opportunities, not limiting them". Due to the Cuban embargo, Americans are not allowed to spend money in Cuba without a license from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Finally, Trump will leave unchanged Obama's end to the "wet-foot-dry-foot" established in 1995 that permitted Cubans who reached USA shores to qualify for permanent residency in America.

And like Obama a few years ago, Trump badly needs a headline showing that he is doing something on the foreign policy front following his fiasco in the Middle East.

The administration, according to one White House official, does not intend to "disrupt" existing business ventures such as one struck under Obama by Starwood Hotels, which is owned by Marriott International Inc., to manage a Havana hotel. He has already pulled the United States out of a major worldwide climate treaty and is trying to scrap his predecessor's landmark healthcare program.

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If you want to travel to Cuba or invest in Cuba, your actions must benefit the ordinary Cuban people.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Trump's policy moves the USA backward. Castro's government has clearly stated it does not intend to change its one-party political system.

An official revealed that the new rules would ban financial transactions between USA and Cuban military-related companies.

The Cuban government, which has made clear it will not be pressured into reforms, had no immediate comment.

But groups here in the United States and the Cuban government expressed some reservations. The Obama administration, as part of its rapprochement with the government of Raul Castro, created more categories of "general" licenses under which people could "self-certify", essentially by checking off a box at their airport departure gate.

USA visitors tripled in number in the wake of 2014 detente, emboldened by Obama's easing of the travel ban.

“I have trust in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to Cuba, ” said Jorge Saurez, 66, a retired physician in Little Havana.

Moreover, it appears there's a willingness to keep in place Obama's efforts to communicate with Cuba.

"There will be little impact on the U.S. economy", said Michael Shifter, a specialist at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based research group.

Once again, the US Government resorts to coercive methods of the past when it adopts measures aimed at stepping up the blockade, effective since February 1962, which not only causes harm and deprivations to the Cuban people and is the main obstacle to our economic development, but also affects the sovereignty and interests of other countries, which arouses global rejection.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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