Trump rolls back Obama's policy on Cuba

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The United States will change its policies toward Cuba, US President Donald Trump announced this Friday, June 16.

Before signing an executive order containing his new policy, Trump called on Cuba to put a better agreement "on the table", and he made demands that are out of the reach of his administration, because they are the responsibility of the Cuban government and people.

The U.S. will move to better enforce the ban on tourism to Cuba. This will essentially shield U.S. airlines and cruise lines serving the island.

Trump's speech in Miami is his latest to tear down Obama's legacy, who spent the last two years of his presidency trying to thaw relations with Cuba, which included a trip to the island in 2016.

And, according to one White House official, the administration does not intend to "disrupt" existing business deals such as one struck under Obama by Starwood Hotels, which is owned by Marriott International Inc, to manage a historic Havana hotel.

As a result, the changes - though far-reaching - appear to be less sweeping than many pro-engagement advocates had feared.

Trump is right to recalibrate this policy without jettisoning it wholesale. During the Obama administration Americans took advantage of the "people to people" travel program, which is designed for Americans to interact with the Cuban people. Leahy and Flake's bill, if passed, would lift the restrictions on USA tourism to Cuba, but has not yet been brought to the floor for a vote in the Senate.

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Mr. Trump, taking time to honor Cuban dissidents by name and praising them for their courage, said he will not stand for communist oppression in Cuba. He is available to weigh in on these and other questions related to the historical relationship between the US and Cuba.

The president's directive aims to ensure that USA funds are not "channeled to a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society".

The policy changes partially fulfilled a campaign promise by Trump and aligned him with hawkish Cuban-American Republicans in the US Congress.

As NPR detailed on Friday, nothing will change under the Treasury and Commerce departments actually draft the new restrictions, so the extent of the impact isn't immediately clear.

The new policy doesn't mean Americans in Cuba will be "stuck" on the island forever, but getting to Cuba will become more complicated for the average U.S. Citizen.

The categorisation of types of travel to Cuba reflects the United States government's practice of allowing travel to the island nation for only certain designated reasons. Under Obama, American travelers could essentially declare their reason for visiting without it being questioned or closely scrutinized, meaning such travel was effectively, though not officially, open.

America fugitives from justice residing in Cuba will have to be extradited back to the United States.

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