Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

"President Trump's announcement will put further pressure on the airlines".

And meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April, Trump declined to raise Beijing's crackdown on opponents of the government.

The move is created to target the repressive elements of the Cuban regime over human rights concerns and not the Cuban people, said officials, who briefed reporters ahead of the announcement on the condition they not be named.

That mandate doesn't appear to extend to Cuba.

President Donald Trump announced a policy shift on Friday that would prohibit solo trips to Cuba, but would allow group trips to continue.

"This is the simple truth of the Castro regime", Trump said.

Trump denounced the Castro regime, and promised that his "administration would not hide from it, excuse it, or glamorize it". And we will never, ever be blind to it. "And we are going to be safeguarding those people", he said. And, therefore, favorable territory to re-close relations with the Castro regime.

"The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela". While imprisoning innocents, it has harboured cop killers, hijackers and terrorists. "It has supported human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation all around the globe", he said.

To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores, Trump said. You have no choice.

Trump on Friday laid out his new Cuba policy that tightens rules on Americans travelling to Cuba and bars United States individuals and companies from doing commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the Cuban military, Efe news reported. They are in such danger the way they have to come to this country. "Freeing Americans to travel and conduct education and business interactions with any nation as freely as we are permitted to do so with every other country in the world should not be a privilege for a few-it is a basic human right because after all, travel is inherently educational". Trump emphasized the release of Joanne Chesimard to U.S. custody. Last week, a group of House Republicans sent a letter to Trump opposing "reversing course" on Cuba.

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The stern reaction came as a former White House official warned that Trump's measures would push Cuba further toward China and Russian Federation.

During Trump's meeting with al-Sisi in April, officials said he did raise the case of an American prisoner, Aya Hijazi, who had been held captive in an Egyptian prison for three years. But al-Sisi - who Trump calls a friend - retains a hardline stance against dissent and political expression.

"These measures are likely to strengthen the hard line in Cuba, at least in the near term".

"We want this relationship to be one in which we can encourage the Cuban people through economic interaction".

By delivering a speech in Miami, Trump made his policy known in the center of the Cuban-American community.

Some see a double standard in Trump's selective focus on human rights overseas.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, said in a statement that any policy change "that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people". "We should be advocating for human rights everywhere, but it does not mean we should be breaking relations".

President Donald Trump shows a signed executive order on Cuba policy, Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami.

"I'm humbled by this endorsement from true freedom fighters", Trump said. "The same values that are at stake in our election".

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