Trump cancels Obama's Cuba deal

Trump's new ruling "cancels" the historic agreement struck between former US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro in 2015. However, the government also made it clear that it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" and cooperation with Washington on issues of mutual interest.

Mr. Trump flew to Miami's Little Havana, spiritual home of the Cuban-American community, to denounce his predecessor's "one-sided" settlement and pledge to work for Cuba's freedom.

He clamped down on some commerce and travel, but left intact many new avenues former United States president Barack Obama had opened. The rest of the Obama policy remains - full diplomatic relations; reduced immigration favoritism for Cubans; restored commercial flights and cruise-ship visits; enhanced cash remittances and visitation by Cuban Americans; removal of Cuba from the list of state terrorism sponsors. Trump's vow to keep the broader decades-old U.S. economic embargo on Cuba firmly in place drew criticism from some USA farmers, especially growers of corn, soybeans and rice.

But individual "people-to-people" trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited.

Cuban President Raul Castro, responding to Trump's announcement, said: "Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve it through pressures and impositions, or by employing subtle methods, will be doomed to failure".

Fueling the explosive growth in U.S.travel was Obama's move authorizing Americans to travel independently - without a tour group - as long as their activities were broadly educational and brought them into contact with ordinary Cubans. The Obama administration relaxed requirements that educational groups travel with a guide from a USA organization sponsoring the trip. Once implemented Trump's policy is expected to curtail United States travel by creating a maze of rules for Americans to obey. We are delighted our guests will continue to have the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and incredible history of Cuba along with the warmth and friendliness of the Cuban people through OFAC-compliant shore excursions that support private businesses and the Cuban people, an opportunity that was restricted for over fifty years.

"Last year I promised to be a voice against repression in our region", Trump said, "and a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people". He will not break the diplomatic ties Obama worked so carefully to restore, nor does he plan to impose new trade sanctions.

But he won roars of approval and cries of 'Viva Cuba libre!' from the invited crowd of Cuban-Americans and Cuban exiles.

A group of 55 Cuban businesspeople sent a letter this week to Trump's daughter and adviser, Ivanka, warning against the policy changes.

Obama had pushed for expanding commerce and travel between the two countries. According to CNN, the President's changes would include prohibiting financial transactions incidental to travel with the Cuban government-run GAESA.

The changes will not go into effect until regulations are drafted by the US Treasury Department and other agencies, officials said. "We lost sight - or many lost sight - of the fact that one of those family values was to have a child back with his father. We won't lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners and freed. until free and internationally recognised elections are held", Trump added. He's warned that returning to a "get tough" policy hurts everyday Cubans whose livelihoods are increasingly rooted in travel and tourism.

It was Trump's most public statement yet calling on a foreign government to improve its human rights record, one that came with specific promises to cut off U.S. cash flows that could support the communist regime in Havana.

Trump was joined on the trip by vocal critics of Obama's attempt to resume more normal relations with the communist nation.

Of those, almost 300,000 were non-Cuban American travelers, and this year that category of US visitors has been on pace to double again.

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