Today is the day. As he promised during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump is expected today to announce the reversal of Obama’s policy of embracing and backing Cuba’s murderous and repressive apartheid dictatorship. Today’s announcement in Miami by the president should be a victory for the Cuban people and a rebuke and stinging defeat for the brutally oppressive apartheid regime that has enslaved them for more than a half century. After more than two years of the U.S. legitimizing and propping up the tyrannical regime that oppresses them, the U.S. will finally be back on the side of freedom, human rights, and the Cuban people.
Of course, you can expect the pro-apartheid Castro supporters here in the U.S. to continue their howling and screeching. That’s what they do and when you don’t have an argument that is all you can do; howl and screech. However, you will also hear from “Republicans” and “conservatives” complaining that as Americans, we have a right to travel wherever we please and do business with whomever we want. True enough. But what you don’t have a legal right to do is traffic in stolen property, make use of slave labor, or engage in business with corrupt dictatorships who sponsor terrorism, sell weapons of mass destruction to rogue regimes, and are major drug traffickers. When you do business with Cuba’s Castro regime, you are engaging in all those illegal activities.
Today will hopefully be a new day for justice, freedom, and human rights not just for Cubans, but for the entire world.
Trump to clamp down on Cuba travel and trade
The president’s policy, set to be issued Friday, will roll back Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with the island.
Making good on a campaign pledge, President Donald Trump on Friday will announce a significant rollback of former President Barack Obama’s accord with Cuba by clearly banning tourist travel to the island, restating the importance of the 56-year-old trade embargo with the island and instituting a broad prohibition on financial transactions with companies significantly controlled by the Communist government’s military, according to a draft version of the directive obtained by POLITICO.
The administration says its goal is to put an end to business transactions that financially benefit the Castro regime while the Cuban people get little in return.
“My administration’s policy will be guided by key U.S. national security interests and solidarity with the Cuban people,” the draft of the five-point, eight-page Presidential Policy Directive reads. “I will seek to promote a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people. To that end, we must ensure that U.S. funds are not channeled to a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society.”
For American tourists, Trump’s policy means that the days of drinking Havana Club rum in a Havana club will likely soon be over.
Under a strict interpretation of the directive, an American probably can’t even stay in an Old Havana hotel or use a tour service because they’re run or controlled by Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A., or GAESA, the business arm of the Cuban military that controls a vast swath of the country’s economy, including most of Cuba’s foreign-run hotels. The prohibition includes any subsidiaries or affiliated companies, along with certain other state-controlled entities.
“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. “The oppressors of the Cuban people are the Cuban government who have increased repression on the island against dissidents and Ladies in White since reestablishing diplomatic relations. Prior to that, it was not clear to some if the Obama policy toward Cuba would work; today it is clear that the Obama policy toward Cuba does not.”
The GAESA concept was proposed in a bill in 2015 by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Florida Gov. Rick Scott. The bill went nowhere but the three, especially Rubio, urged Trump to adopt it as a centerpiece of the policy that he is scheduled to announce Friday at a Miami theater that bears the name of Manuel Artime, a leader of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion to topple Castro.
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