Tougher Trump line toward Cuba delights hardliners on island

Trump to revise parts of Obama's Cuba policy

Trump to revise parts of Obama's Cuba policy

Four Illinois agricultural groups issued a joint news release Friday denouncing President Donald J. Trump's decision to limit former President Barack Obama's Cuba policy.

One of the major changes in the policy directive is that USA travelers making educational people-to-people trips can no longer go to Cuba individually but must travel in groups accompanied by a company representative. Nelson Avila, center, joins anti-President Donald Trump protesters, calling for open relations with Cuba on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Miami. But, facing pressure from USA businesses and even some fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with Cuba, the president chose to leave intact some of his Democratic predecessor's steps toward normalization.

White House officials acknowledged this week that Trump had insisted on scaling back Obama's Cuba policy in order to fulfill his campaign promises.

By signing Friday afternoon a presidential national security directive, Trump imposes additional hurdles to the very restricted business opportunities American companies had to trade and invest in Cuba, the statement underlines.

MIAMI (AP) - The Cuban government is rejecting what it calls President Donald Trump's hostile rhetoric.

During his speech, Trump slammed Cuba for human rights abuses, saying, "The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela". But Trump vowed that trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites is met. Obama and his aides argued that commerce and travel between the countries, which has blossomed since he relaxed the rules, would make his policy irreversible.

Mr. Trump will reinstate travel and commercial restrictions eased by Mr. Obama past year, during that administration's attempts to obtain additional concessions from the Cuban government.

"But for the Cuban economy - including the private sector - this shift is a tremendous blow".

Castro also said that "the United States is not in a position to give us lessons".

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"This is another blow for Cubans and it will hurt our pockets obviously", said Martha Garcia, 51.

"New restrictions on engagement with Cuban economy only pushes Cuba to China and Russian Federation who will gladly make up the difference", Rhodes said. Despite bitter criticism and personal attacks, most have continued to operate, many with a degree of support from US individuals and foundations that would have been impossible before the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

"It's an abuse of power by the USA empire not to listen to the whole world's support against the blockade of Cuba", he said in a series of tweets.

The Cuban government has given Trump's speech extensive coverage on official media. Trump, on the other hand, described his move as an effort to bring about a "free Cuba" after more than half a century of communism.

While Castro acknowledged that changes in Cuba were necessary, pointing to the ongoing process of modernising and developing the island's economic and socialist model, he insisted that Cuba would decide its own fate independent of foreign influence.

Trump, however, stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostilities.

Under the new regulations, Americans will no longer be able to take private trips to the island, and US companies and citizens will be barred from doing business with entities controlled by Cuban government agencies, including its military and security services.

Some of those new groups came under intense pressure during detente, particularly after Obama's May 2016 visit to the island.

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