losangelesnewstoday.com May 26, 2018

Cuban foreign minister: 'We have the patience' to wait out Trump

20 June 2017, 12:54 | Amanda Barker

Russia criticises US for 'anti-Cuban' approach, says it sides with Cuba

Places are reserved for journalists in the hearing room ahead of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Hart Senate Office Building

Rodriguez called those fugitives "fighters for civil liberties" who had already been granted political asylum by Cuba and would not be returned to US.

USA policy towards Cuba has always been an obstacle to improved US relations with other Latin American countries.

Trump on Friday announced a tougher approach to the Castro regime, rolling back Obama's easing of restrictions on some travel and commercial activity while leaving intact the policies on family visits and remittances. In fact, Trump's policy even keeps the American embassy in Havana open. Unfortunately, today's moves actually limit the possibility for positive change on the island and risk ceding growth opportunities to other countries that, frankly, may not share America's interest in a free and democratic Cuba that respects human rights.

Yes, this is the same Donald Trump who declared as president-elect in December that his incoming Administration would "pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past". While seeming like small rollbacks, they may actually have a large effect, as the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group has a wide reach in the Cuban economy so that it is hard for USA businesses to avoid dealing with it in some capacity.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., were joined by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., in authoring a column for the Miami Herald in praise of Trump's revised policy toward the island nation.

As for the real effects of policy, Mr Rodriguez said that he will need to wait for Mr Trump's measures to be implemented before he can completely assess their impacts.

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Despite criticizing the Obama administration's Cuba policies, Trump will leave many of his predecessor's policies untouched.

There are significant worries within the Cuban regime that an end of Venezuelan support will mean a return of the "special period" of the 1990s, when the end of Soviet support led to widespread hunger and economic collapse. Grupo de Administracion Empresarial SA, known as GAESA, a state-run, military-affiliated conglomerate, owns nearly all of the retail chains in Cuba and 57 of the mainly foreign-run hotels on the island. He cited a USA poll that said that 73 percent of Americans agree with completely raising the economic blockade. This will essentially shield US airlines and cruise lines serving the island. Mr Trump instructed the federal government to begin working on plans for restricting individual travel to Cuba, and on American investment in the country.

Several companies engaged in business in Cuba expressed relief that Trump didn't take more drastic action. Nearly everything he has done proves that he doesn't give a damn about democracy in Cuba or anywhere else. The changes will largely affect the country's travel and tourism industry.

Carnival Corp. also said it was "pleased" the changes will allow its ships to continue to sail to Cuba. According to CNN, the President's changes would include prohibiting financial transactions incidental to travel with the Cuban government-run GAESA. Both legislators have been involved in helping draft Trump's new Cuba policy.

Ward said that while the Treasury Department has made clear that it will take some months for any new regulations to be implemented, "it is safe to say that there will be tightening of the people-to-people travel 'general license'".

Castro has announced he will step aside as president in February 2018.

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