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Crackdown on Cuba? Obama Policy Out, What to Expect from Trump's New Policy

06-16-2017
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President Donald Trump is eliminating former President Barack Obama's policy on Cuba. Calling it "one-sided." Trump said the current policy will be completely erased and replaced with one that is fair to the people of Cuba and the United States.

“Last year, I promised to be a voice against oppression and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people," the president said during a speech in Miami Friday.

He spoke before a packed room of supporters who cheered when he announced his decision saying he's signing the executive order Friday.

Regulations on tourism were relaxed under the Obama administration, allowing Americans to visit Cuba under people-to-people travel.

"The intent (with people-to-people travel) is to not just do tourist activities, but to meet Cuban people and to exchange, talk about life in the United States, learn about life in Cuba," Tom Popper, president of insightCuba, told the Washington Post last year when regulations began to change. 

This type of travel is expected to be revoked under the new rules.

Any new policies announced by Trump will go into effect Friday, but nothing will be implemented until new regulations are in place. Consequently, any Americans with plans to travel to Cuba in the near future may still do so.

The main focus of Trump's new policy will focus on shifting money away from Cuban military and security services that "contribute to oppression on the island," one White House official said.

“I am cancelling the last administrations completely one-sided deal with Cuba," President Trump declared.

Diplomatic relations are expected to be maintained and U.S. airlines and cruise ships will continue to service the island.

Senior White House officials say Obama's "appeasement" enriched Cuba's military, increasing repression of the Cuban people.

"The goal of these policies is very simple," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a message posted on Facebook. "We want to empower and we want to strengthen the Cuban people without strengthening the Cuban military, which controls a significant percentage of their economy."

Rubio championed the new restrictions and will accompany the president to Miami, Friday, to announce the new policy.

“With God’s help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve," said President Trump

The White House says it's willing to negotiate more favorable terms with Cuba, but only if the Castro regime allows free and fair elections and releases political prisoners, according to NPR.

“I am very pleased to see that President Trump is overhauling the Obama administration policies toward Cuba," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "This will prove to be a good day for Cuban pro-democracy and pro-human rights advocates, and a bad day for the Castro regime.”

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