Trump to roll back Obama’s accord with Cuba, impose travel, trade restrictions
US President Donald Trump will announce a significant rollback of former President Barack Obama’s accord with Cuba by imposing travel and trade restrictions on the island nation, according to a new report.
Trump will announce the changes to the Obama-era policies that improved US relations with Cuba in a speech in Miami, Florida, on Friday, POLITICO reported on Thursday.
The Trump administration had put the Cuba policy under review upon taking office earlier this year, the report said.
The administration aims to reinforce certain aspects of about six-decade-old trade embargo in an attempt of preventing business dealings with companies controlled by the Cuban military, according to a draft version of the directive obtained by POLITICO.
“My administration’s policy will be guided by key US national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people,” reads the draft. “I will seek to promote a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people. To that end, we must ensure that US funds are not channeled to a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society.”
During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump threatened to “terminate” deals that the Obama administration made with Cuba.
“The policy the Trump administration is announcing regarding Cuba based on President Trump’s core conviction that what the Cuban exile community is asking for is right and just,” the White House said in a written statement to POLITICO.
Obama worked to enact several changes to Cuban policy during his tenure in the White House. He re-established diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015 and loosened some restrictions on doing business in the country.
Obama also gave illegal immigrants from Cuba a path to legal status and opened travel to the island nation.
Despite Obama’s effort to improve ties, the Republican-dominated Congress has refused to lift Washington’s 57-year-old embargo against Havana, which makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with Cuba.
The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and placed an official embargo against the country in 1962.
The two countries became ideological foes soon after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power and their ties remained hostile even after the end of the Cold War.