President Trump Curbs Obama-Era Cuba Deal

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President Trump announced a new policy in regard to the U.S.’s relationship with Cuba, restricting travel and spending, on Friday.

During a speech in Miami, which featured appearances by Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump said he was “canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”

“The previous administrations easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people. They only enrich the Cuban regime,” President Trump said during a speech from Cuba. “The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military.”

Though president Trump declared he was “canceling” the Obama Administration’s policy on stage, in reality he’s merely tightening the existing policy by restricting some travel and trade.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House on Friday as the president spoke, the new policy ends non-academic individual travel to the island nation and restricts travel-related transactions from flowing to entities owned and operated by the Cuban military monopoly. Cuban-Americans are still free to travel to the country and send remittances.

“My action today bypasses the military and the government to help the Cuban people themselves,” Trump said Friday.

The President challenged the Castro government to renegotiate a new deal and indicated that any further changes to the U.S.-Cuba relationship would only come if the Cuban regime made some significant changes including the release of political freedoms, the acceptance of free assembly and expression, the legalization of political parties, and the scheduling of free and internationally supervised elections. “We will not be silent in the face of communism, oppression,” Trump said.

“America will always stand for liberty and America will always pray and cheer for the freedom of the Cuban people,” he said.

Trump’s announcement marks the reversal of a signature Obama-administration achievement that eased some restrictions on travel and engagement with Cuba.

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