Friday, June 16, 2017

Cuba Change

From the DW:
"Trump to limit travel, restrict business with Cuba"


US President Donald Trump is set to reverse "Obama's policy of appeasement" toward Cuba, with new travel and business restrictions. With Cuba at a crossroads, some think the plan will further entrench the regime.  In a draft presidential memorandum released late Thursday, the White House said the new policy was "designed to empower the Cuban people." "This is not directed against the Cuban people, but the Cuban regime," the statement read. The aim, it said, is political and religious freedom and respect for human rights. On Friday, Trump is set to appear in Miami, the home base of the Cuban-American exile community, to announce the new policy aimed at stopping the flow of US cash to Cuba's military and security services.  In the final years of his term in office, former US President Barack Obama initiated a diplomatic breakthrough with the former Cold War foe, which included the restoration of relations and the reopening of embassies.  "The president is not opposed to ANY [sic] deal with Cuba, he is just opposed to a bad deal," the statement read, adding that business-to-business relations were still possible, as long as "they don't enrich the Cuban military complex." The Cuban military has been expanding its reach into the tourist industry, with its holding company, the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), owning the best hotels and most retail outlets, rental car companies and import entities. Estimates are that GAESA companies account for more than half of the business revenue generated in Cuba. The statutory tourism restriction will be strictly enforced, the statement went on, and diplomatic relations will continue. Trump will not close down the US Embassy in Havana, which Obama re-established in 2015. Although the new policy is being announced on Friday, none of the changes will become effective until the Treasury Department releases new regulations, which could take months. Thursday's statement said Trump had met with "experts" in Congress, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has warned against plans not to go ahead with the crackdown on Cuban trade and travel. Rubio also sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Critics fear the measures will not do much economic damage to the Cuban regime, and will give it new ammunition to proclaim itself a victim of US aggression and an excuse to postpone democratic changes.  On Wednesday, Cuba said it plans to hold municipal elections in October, a precursor to the handover of power from President Raul Castro in 2018. Raul Castro has said he will step down next February at the end of his second five-year term, but has indicated he will stay on as head of the Communist Party, the only legal party in Cuba. The electoral notice coincides with a period of uncertainty for Cuba.  The group that has ruled the country since the 1959 revolution is dying out and Cuba's main political and trade ally Venezuela is in crisis. Castro's first vice president, the 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, is widely tipped to assume Castro's mantle, but there is also talk of a radical break with the older generation and an embrace of the market reforms that have been a feature of Raul Castro's nine-year rule.


^ Cuba has done little to nothing over the past few years (or even since Fidel died) to open itself up to the world or to ordinary Cubans on the island yet Obama kept giving them everything for free. If Cuba wants to really change itself and the lives of its people that is great and should be rewarded, but they haven't and so shouldn't. ^


http://www.dw.com/en/trump-to-limit-travel-restrict-business-with-cuba/a-39271562

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