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Tightening Cuba restrictions, Trump again chips away at Obama's legacy

Tightening Cuba restrictions, Trump again chips away at Obama's legacy”

Some restrictions on American travel may be reimposed, along with limits on how often Cuban Americans can travel and send money.

Former president Barack Obama implemented his Cuba normalization measures through executive actions that bypassed Congress, giving Trump the power to undo much of it with the stroke of a pen.

"This bar is quite progressive".

US media have speculated the White House will try to roll back the thaw in diplomatic ties that was spearheaded by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, especially as the announcement will be made in Miami, Florida, home to the largely anti-Castro Cuban exile community. Among more than 4 million visitors past year, a record, 615,000 came from the United States, more than half of them Cuban Americans.

Trump said throughout the 2016 campaign that he was willing to rollback diplomatic relations with the communist regime in Cuba.

The influx in Americans going to see the sights has resulted in the rebirth of cruises and air service from the U.S.to the island, with nonstop flights available from NY to Havana. Ties forged during a 20-year slog will count with the Cuban government, he said. After all, the damaging USA trade embargo remains in place and they are struggling to get by as the economy wrestles with falling exports and a decline in oil shipments from key ally Venezuela.

If American will agree with the relationship with Cuba, it only benefits the agriculture industries.

"I realise this trip might no longer be possible for those like me, but it's not about our selfish interest to travel, it's more about the opportunity we've opened", said Ferrer, 21, who visited in May on a trip organised by Discover Cuba, the travel wing of Roots of Hope, a Miami-based advocacy group linking young Cuban Americans with Cubans on the island.

"Some 85 percent of our clients are Americans and they are the ones who consume most and pay the best", said Yuri Barroso, doing promotion for a restaurant on Plaza Vieja, a square surrounded by elegantly restored colonial buildings.

"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. By normalizing relations and facilitating trade and travel between Americans and Cubans, he asserted, the United States would spread democratic ideals on the island, while American diplomats could nudge the government toward greater openness in a post-Castro era.

While the US prohibits tourism to Cuba, the US Treasury Department now allows travelers to "self-license" under 12 different categories of travel, such as educational tours and participating in sporting events. The irony: If Americans have a harder time visiting Cuba, it won't hurt the regime - because the 3.5 million non-American tourists stay disproportionately in the resorts owned by the government.

In an interview this week with TV Martí, the US government-funded broadcaster to Cuba, Diaz-Balart said he was sure Trump would announce "a real change" in relations.

But that now looks unlikely.

The source said Trump will also announce stricter enforcement of rules under which Americans can travel to Cuba, detailed in a broader National Security Presidential Memorandum.

Critics of Obama's approach contend that many US visitors have taken advantage of eased regulations and looser scrutiny to visit the island for pleasure trips. Keesling co-chairs the state support committee of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, which counts Cargill Inc. and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. among its members.

Following their February White House dinner, Trump and Rubio discussed Cuba again aboard Air Force One on March 3, when Rubio joined the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on a charter-school visit. "He can do something to make the sales more hard". American visits would likely drop, hurting both US airlines and accommodation services operating there, as well as the Cuban tourism industry.

The number of people who wants to continue with the rapprochement, compared to those who want to reverse it, shows a ratio of almost 100 to one, said Williams, adding that it is not a good position to be a politician.

Ferrer, meanwhile, said she understands the position of the hardliners.

"The United States prospers by engaging with the world", they wrote.



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