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Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García

Iván García, 19 June 2017 — For both countries it amounts to a remake of
the Cold War, this time in version 2.0. It will take time to determine
the scope of the contest or if the new diplomatic battle will involve
only bluffs, idle threats and blank bullets.

With an unpredictable buffoon like Donald Trump and a conspiratorial
autocrat like Raul Castro, anything could happen.

The dispute between Cuba and the United States is like an old love
story, one peppered with resentments, disagreements and open admiration
for the latter's opportunities and consumerist lifestyle.

Beginning in January 1959, the dispute between Havana and Washington
took on an ideological tone when a bearded Fidel Castro opted for
communism right under Uncle Sam's nose. The country allied itself with
the former Soviet Union and had the political audacity to confiscate the
properties of U.S. companies and to aim nuclear weapons at Miami and New
York.

Successive American administrations, from Eisenhower to George Bush Jr.,
responded with an embargo, international isolation and subversion in an
attempt to overthrow the Castro dictatorship.

Times changed but objectives remained the same. Castro's Cuba, ruled by
a totalitarian regime which does not respect human rights and represses
those who think differently, is not the kind of partner with which the
White House likes to do business.

But the art of politics allows for double standards. For various
reasons, Persian Gulf monarchies and Asian countries such as China and
Vietnam — countries which have leap-frogged over democracy like Olympic
athletes and are also heavy-handed in their use of power — are allies of
the United States or have been granted most favored nation status by the
U.S. Congress.

To the United States, Cuba — a capricious and arrogant dictatorship
inflicting harm on universally held values — is different. Washington is
correct in theory but not in its solution.

Fifty-five years of diplomatic, economic and financial warfare combined
with a more or less subtle form of subversion, support for dissidents,
the free flow of information, private businesses and an internet free of
censorship have not produced results.

The communist regime is still in place. What to do? Remain politically
blind and declare war on an impoverished neighbor or to try to coexist
peacefully?

Washington's biggest problem is that there is no effective mechanism for
overturning dictatorial or hostile governments by remote control. The
White House repeatedly shoots itself in the foot.

The embargo is more effective as a publicity tool for the Castro regime
than it is for the United States. This is because the military junta,
which controls 90% of the island's economy, can still trade with the
rest of the world.

The very global nature of modern economies limits the effectiveness of a
total embargo. In the case of Cuba, the embargo has more holes in it
than a block of Swiss cheese. Hard currency stores on the island sell
"Made in the USA" household appliances, American cigarettes and the
ubiquitous Coca Cola.

There are those who have advocated taking a hard line when it comes to
the Cuban regime. In practice, their theories have not proved effective,
though they would argue that Obama's approach has not worked either.

They have a point. The nature of a dictatorship is such that it is not
going to collapse when faced with a Trojan Horse. But as its leaders
start to panic, doubts begin to set in among party officials as support
grows among a large segment of the population. And what is most
important for American interests is to win further approval from the
international community for its geopolitical management.

Obama's speech in Havana, in which he spoke of democratic values while
directly addressing a group of wrinkled Caribbean strongmen, was more
effective than a neutron bomb.

There are many Cubans who recognize that the root of their problems —
from a disastrous economy to socialized poverty, daily shortages and a
future without hope — lies in the Palace of the Revolution.

Hitting the dictatorship in its pocketbook has not worked. In Cuba, as
Trump knows all too well, every business and corporation which deals in
hard currency belongs to the government.

And all the money that comes into the country in the form of remittances
ends up, in one form or another, in the state treasury. Sanctions only
affect the people. I am convinced that, if Cuba's autocrats lack for
anything, it is more digits in their secret bank accounts.

Like other politicians and some members of Congress, Donald Trump is
only looking at the Cuban landscape superficially.

The United States can spend millions to support Cuban dissidents (though
96% of the money goes to anti-Castro organizations based in Florida),
launch international campaigns and impose million-dollar fines on
various foreign banks to punish them for doing business with the
Caribbean dictatorship, but they overlook one thing: the regime's
opponents — local figures who would presumably be leaders of any
prolonged, peaceful battle for democracy on the island — are failing.

The reasons vary. They range from intense repression to the opposition's
proverbial inability to turn out even five-hundred people for a rally in
a public square.

I understand the frustration of my compatriots in the diaspora. I too
have suffered. I have
not seen my mother, my sister or my niece in the fourteen years since
the Black Spring in 2003 forced them to leave for Switzerland.

Various strategies have been tried yet the island's autocrats still have
not given up. They are not going to change of their own free will. They
will retreat to the trenches, their natural habitat, where they can
maneuver more easily. And they will have the perfect pretext for
portraying themselves as victims.

As is already well known, the real blockade is the one the government
imposes on its citizens through laws and regulations that hinder them
from accumulating capital, accessing foreign sources of credit and
importing goods legally.

The regime has created anachronistic obstacles to the free importation
of goods from abroad by imposing absurd tariffs and restrictions.

But Cubans want a real democracy, not a caricature. We have to
understand that we must find the solutions to our problems ourselves.

Cuba is a matter for Cubans, wherever they happen to reside. All that's
lacking is for we ourselves to believe it.

Source: Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-and-the-united-states-return-to-the-trenches-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
Cuba policy change: Poultry exports could be impacted
By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau Jun 25, 2017

MONTGOMERY – Agriculture officials and industry leaders in Alabama for
years have lobbied for expanded exports to socialist Cuba, a country
where they see a promising market for the state's poultry products.

Now they're waiting to see what President Donald Trump's recent, more
restrictive policy change with Cuba will mean for the millions of tons
of poultry that leave Mobile for the island nation every month.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan last week said exports to
Cuba could be impacted by that country's response to the president's
directive.

"Particularly, with Raul Castro stepping down in early '18," McMillan
said. "We're going to be anxious to see what the Cuban government's
policy is going to be.

"If something undesirable happens there, that would be on the Cuba
side," he said. "We hope that doesn't happen."

Earlier this month, Trump said the U.S. would impose new limits on U.S.
travelers to the island, and ban any payments to the military-linked
conglomerate that controls much of the island's tourism industry, the
Associated Press reported.

Trump also declared "the harboring of criminals and fugitives will end.
You have no choice. It will end."

He said the U.S. would consider lifting those and other restrictions
only after Cuba returned fugitives and made a series of other internal
changes, including freeing political prisoners, allowing freedom of
assembly, and holding free elections.

Cuba's foreign minister later rejected the policy change, saying, "We
will never negotiate under pressure or under threat." He also said Cuba
refuses to return U.S. fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

About 7 million tons of poultry are shipped from the Port of Mobile each
month to Cuba. But Cuba has other options for importing agriculture
products, McMillan said, including Mexico, South America and Canada.

"They have choices. Some of those choices may be more expensive, that
may be our advantage," said McMillan, who has taken multiple trips to
Cuba and advocated for expanded agriculture exports.

There are human rights violations in China, but no one is cutting off
trade there, McMillan said.

"The bottom line, I think, is that the best way to format change down
there is to continue trade with them," he said.

Armando de Quesada of Hartselle disagrees. He was 10 when he fled Cuba
in 1962. On this issue, he agrees with Trump.

"Any dollars that go to Cuba automatically go to the Castro regime,"
Quesada said. "It's not like here. Over there, the government owns
everything. There's no benefit to the Cuban people."

Growth of private industry is limited, and Quesada doesn't think opening
relations between the two countries will effect change.

"I don't think enriching them helps the cause of freedom," he said. "It
doesn't help the people."

Ag shipments to Cuba weren't part of former President Barack Obama's
policy with the socialist country. In 2000, Congress began allowing a
limited amount of agriculture exports to Cuba.

"We've been trading with them for some time," said Johnny Adams,
executive director of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association. While
Obama made it easier, it's still cumbersome, he said.

"We're not allowed to give them credit. They have to pay us up front
through a third party," Adams said. "Normalizing trade would make it a
lot easier."

Like McMillan, Adams has been to Cuba multiple times.

"We have the highest quality, most reasonably priced poultry in the
world and we're 90 miles away," Adams said.

"Hopefully, everyone can sit down and work things out between the two
countries," Adams said. "We've enjoyed our relationship with the Cuban
people, and would like to see it get better."

Source: Cuba policy change: Poultry exports could be impacted | State
Capital | timesdaily.com -
http://www.timesdaily.com/news/state-capital/cuba-policy-change-poultry-exports-could-be-impacted/article_b5b4e281-978f-5f8c-bf8d-79e2643e2440.html Continue reading
Iván García, 19 June 2017 — For both countries it amounts to a remake of the Cold War, this time in version 2.0. It will take time to determine the scope of the contest or if the new diplomatic battle will involve only bluffs, idle threats and blank bullets. With an unpredictable buffoon like Donald … Continue reading "Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García" Continue reading
Thanks for Nothing, Trump

Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 21 June 2017 — After much media frenzy,
Trump's "new policy" toward Cuba has not gone beyond the rhetoric
expected by most political analysts. His act was more a symbolic gesture
towards his faithful than any practical novelty. In short, those who
expected an announcement of truly transcendental changes in the policy
toward Cuba by the US president during his speech in Miami on Friday
June 16, were left wanting. As we say in Cuba, the show turned out to be
more rigmarole than movie reel.

The long-awaited changes, far from being novel, are actually quite
limited. In fact, the highlight of his announced "punishment" for the
Castro dictatorship is enveloped in an inconsistent magic trick where
the essential cards seem to be a ban on US businessmen to negotiate with
Cuban military companies, the suppression of non-group tours visits by
US citizens to Cuba and the auditing of group visits. The rest is garbage.

The whole of the Palace of the Revolution must be shaking in terror. The
dictatorship can already be considered as having failed: judging by the
enthusiasm of its fans gathered in the Manuel Artime Theatre in Little
Havana, with Trump in power, the Castro regime's hours are numbered.
Those who know about such things say that the Castros and Miami's
"Dialogue Mafia" "have run out of bread," that "the political actors (?)
are now where they should be" And that Trump's speech was "friendly
towards the Cuban people." If the matter were not so serious, it would
probably be laughable.

The sad thing is that there are those who believed the sham, or at least
they pretend to believe what he said. At the end of the day, everyone
should stick to the role of the character he represents in the script of
this eternal Cuban tragicomedy.

It would be another thing if all this elaborate anti-Castro theory (!)
could be successfully implemented, which is at least as dubious as the
construction of socialism that the extremists continue to proclaim from
opposite points on the globe.

And it is doubtful, not only for the intricacy of the long process that
each proposal of the US Executive branch must follow before being put
into practice — as detailed in a White House fact sheet — but because
its sole conception demonstrates absolute ignorance of the Cuban reality
in trying to "channel economic activities outside the Cuban military
monopoly, GAESA."

It would seem that there is a division of powers and an autonomy of
institutions in Cuba that clearly distinguishes "military" from "civil,"
defines its functions and establishes to what extent the economic
structure of companies, cooperatives and other sectors are or are not
related to the military entrepreneurship, or with the
State-Party-Government monopoly itself, which is one and the same, with
which, nevertheless, relations will be maintained. Just that would be a
challenge for Cubans here, let alone for those who emigrated 50 years
ago or for the very Anglo-Saxon Trump administration.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump's proposals carry another capricious
paradox, since limiting individual visits would directly damage the
fragile private sector — especially lodging and catering, not to mention
independent transportation providers, and artisans who make their living
from selling souvenirs and other trinkets, a market that is sustained
precisely by individual tourism.

Tour group visits, which remain in effect, are those that favor the
State-owned and run hotels, where these groups of visitors usually stay
because they have a larger number of rooms and more amenities than
privately-owned facilities.

This would be the practical aspect of the matter. Another point is the
one relating to the merely political. It's shocking to see the rejoicing
of some sectors of the Cuban-American exile and the so-called "hardline
opposition" inside Cuba, after the (supposedly) "successful" speech by
the US president, and his pronouncements about benefits that the new-old
politics of confrontation will bring "to the Cuban people" in the field
of human rights.

In fact, such joy is hard to explain, because it is obvious that Trump's
speech fell far short of the expectations these groups had previously
manifested. One of the most supported claims of this segment has been
the break in relations between both countries, and, more recently, the
reinstatement of the policy of "wet foot/dry foot," repealed in the
final days of the previous administration. Far from that, the
unpredictable Trump not only reaffirmed the continuation of diplomatic
relations, but omitted the subject of the Cuban migratory crisis and
even the suppression of aid funds for democracy, which he had proposed a
few weeks before.

Curiously, no member of the media present at the press conference held
after the very conspicuous speech asked uncomfortable questions about
any of these three points, which do constitute true pivots of change in
US policy towards Cuba which affect both the fate of the Cubans stranded
in different parts of Latin America on their interrupted trip to the US,
and the financing (and consequently, the survival) of various opposition
projects both inside and outside Cuba.

The truth is that, so far, the great winner of Trump's proposals is none
other than the Castro regime, since the rhetoric of confrontation is the
natural field of its ideological discourse inside and outside Cuba.
Thus, has rushed to evidence the official declaration blaringly
published in all its press monopoly media last Saturday, June 17th, with
plenty of slogans and so-called nationalists for the defense of
sovereignty and against "the rude American interference", which that
gray scribe, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban chancellor by the grace of
the divine green finger, repeated two days later in his apathetic press
conference from Vienna.

Meanwhile, the "Cuban people" – with no voice or vote in this whole saga
— remains the losing party, barely a hostage of very alien policies and
interests, whose representation is disputed by both the dictatorship and
the US government, plus a good part of the opposition.

We must thank Mr. Trump for nothing. Once again, the true cause of the
Cuban crisis — that is, the dictatorial and repressive nature of its
government — is hidden behind a mask, and the "solution" of Cuba's ills
is again placed in the decisions of the US government. At this rate, we
can expect at least 50 additional years of burlesque theater, for the
benefit of the same actors who, apparently and against the odds, have the

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: Thanks for Nothing, Trump – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/thanks-for-nothing-trump/ Continue reading
Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 19 June 2017 — "Impotence." This is the word that a
performer in the Guiñol Theater (located in the basement of the FOCSA
building in Havana's Vedado district) uses when asked her opinion of the
new Trump Doctrine regarding Cuba.

On a day of African heat, a group of eight waits to navigate the
Internet in a hall administered by the state-run telecommunications
monopoly ETECSA. The performer exchanges opinions with the others
regarding the event of the week: the repeal by Donald Trump's
administration of Obama's policy of détente.

On the street, for those Cubans who earn only token salaries, breakfast
on coffee alone and complain constantly about the inefficiency of public
services and the government's inability to improve the quality of life,
political machination is just an annoyance.

Human Rights, democracy and political liberties all sound good, but they
are not understood in their full context. At least, this is what can be
deduced from the opinions expressed by the people waiting in line. Some
make clear that they are speaking from their personal perspective, that
they watched Trump on Telesur but have yet to read the measures for
themselves.

For lack of time, and the propaganda fatigue brought on by the barrage
from the official press–which has caused many compatriots to decide to
not keep up with news reports but instead take shelter in social-media
gossip–the group waiting to go online is shooting to kill in all directions.

"Everybody talks about 'the people,' about the 'dissidents,' about the
Cuban American congressmen over there, about the government over here,
but nobody has hit on the formula for us to derive benefits from a
particular policy. Obama tried, but the gerontocracy that rules us did
not allow private business owners to get ahead. I feel like a hostage,
to Castro and to Trump. A puppet," the performer confesses.

One lady, a loquacious and chain-smoking housewife, asks, in a tone of
disgust, "What have the people gained from Obama's policy? Nothing." And
she explains to herself, "Those people (the government) don't want to
change. They will not give up," she says ironically, "the honey of
power. Trump is a crazy man, a clown. The guy is a pill. His speech was
pure theater. It's all cheap politicking. And in the middle of it all,
we Cubans are–and will remain–screwed. Nobody can change this [regime],
and nobody can take it down, either."

A self-employed worker affirms that he does not see a solution to
Cubans' problems because "we haven't had the balls to confront the
arbitrariness of the government. To hold on and and get screwed, that's
our fate. With all his yammering, the only thing Trump will achieve is
that the 'revolutionary reaffirmation' marches will start up again,
condemning 'yankee interference.' You can already see that coming."

At a park in Old Havana there are no optimists to be found, either. On
the contrary. "Damn, brother, I thought that The One was going to put
back the Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot law. The only way this shit's going to be
resolved is letting people leave Cuba. You think that over here the
folks are going to sign up with the Ladies in White to get beaten up?
No, man, people will mind their own business, getting by under the table
and trying to scrape together a few pesos. There is no way that Cubans
will take to the streets. Unless it's to get in line at foreign
consulates, or if Gente de Zona put on a free concert," declares a young
man in the Parque del Curita, waiting for the P-12 line to Santiago de
las Vegas.

Almost 60 years since the protracted and sterile political arm-wrestling
between the various US administrations and the Castro brothers, a broad
segment of the citizenry sees itself caught in a no-man's land–in a
futile battle for which nobody, not the Cuban rulers nor the US, has
asked their permission. They think also that political naiveté has
always reigned supreme in the White House, given the oft-repeated
intentions to export democratic values to a fraternity of autocrats with
the mentality of gangsters and neighborhood troublemakers.

"It is a narrative replete with personal ambitions, pseudo-patriotic
elation and cheap nationalism, which has served only to consolidate a
history of sovereign and intransigent rulers who never allowed North
American interference. It's fine for a tale, but this politics of
confrontation on both sides has left only one winner: the regime of
Fidel and Raúl Castro. The rest of us have been the losers. Those who
were not in agreement with the Revolution or who wanted to emigrate were
called 'gusanos' [worms]. Families were split up and kept from having
contact with relatives in the US. The result of all this is what we see
today: a great number of Cubans who cannot tolerate those who think
differently from them, many who want to emigrate, women who don't want
to have children in their homeland and, in general, a great indifference
on the part of citizens towards the problems of their country," explains
a Havana sociologist.

The official reaction has been restrained. For now. A functionary with
the Communist Party assures me that "the government is not going to wage
a frontal campaign to discredit Trump. Yes, of course, the various
institutions of the State will mobilize to demonstrate that the
government has it all under control. But Trump's speech was more noise
than substance. Except for the matter of US citizens' travel to Cuba,
which undoubtedly will affect the national economy, the rest [of the
Obama-era policies] remains in place, because the military-run
businesses are only two hotels.

The owner of a paladar [private restaurant] in Havana believes that "if
the yumas [Cuban slang for Americans] stop coming there will be effects
on the private sector, because almost all of them stay in private homes,
travel around the city in convertible almendrones [classic cars], and
eat lunch and dinner in private paladares."

The news was not good for Cubans who had plans to emigrate to the US.
"Many dreamers thought that Trump was a cool guy and would reinstate the
Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot policy. I was not expecting as much, but I thought at
least that the Cuban-American congressmen would influence Trump's
allowing the exceptional granting of visas to Cubans stuck in Central
America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and reactivating the asylum for Cuban
medical workers who have deserted their missions," said a engineer who
dreams of resettling in Miami.

The perception right now among Cubans on the street is that they are
back to a familiar scenario. One of trenches. Replete with
anti-imperialist rhetoric and zero tolerance for liberal thought of any
stripe. The scenario most favorable for the hierarchs who dress in olive
green.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubans-feel-like-hostages-to-both-castro-and-trump-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
… did recognize Cuba’s independence, sovereignty and self-determination and the Cuban government … Cuba rejects political manipulation and double standards in human rights. The Cuban … its second summit held in Havana. Cuba has not renounced these principles … Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 21 June 2017 — After much media frenzy, Trump’s “new policy” toward Cuba has not gone beyond the rhetoric expected by most political analysts. His act was more a symbolic gesture towards his faithful than any practical novelty. In short, those who expected an announcement of truly transcendental changes in the … Continue reading "Thanks for Nothing, Trump" Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 19 June 2017 — “Impotence.” This is the word that a performer in the Guiñol Theater (located in the basement of the FOCSA building in Havana’s Vedado district) uses when asked her opinion of the new Trump Doctrine regarding Cuba. On a day of African heat, a group of eight waits to navigate the Internet … Continue reading "Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García" Continue reading
Elliott Abrams: Has Trump Made the Right Move in Cuba?
Elliott Abrams, Newsweek • June 22,
This article first appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations site.

Congratulations to President Trump for a serious (though not total)
reversal of the terrible Obama policy toward Cuba.

Why? Because the Obama policy was values-free, granting all sorts of
advantages to the Castro regime in exchange for nothing.

That was no bargained-for exchange, winning more freedom for the Cuban
people. Instead it was a prime example of Obama's ideological politics,
abandoning decades of American policy that he thought right-wing or
old-fashioned and wrong and in the process strengthening the vicious
Castro regime and paying little attention to the people of the island.

In the years since Obama acted, human rights in Cuba have gotten worse.
If Obama's approach was an experiment, it has failed. Human Rights
Watch's World Report 2016 said this of Cuba:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public
criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish
its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders,
independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in
recent years.

The Miami Herald's lead analyst on Latin America, Andres Oppenheimer,
wrote this in July 2016:

One year after Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington on July 20, 2015,
Cuba's human rights situation is much worse. It's time for Latin America
and the U.S. to stop clapping, and demand that Cuba's dictatorship start
allowing fundamental freedoms
On the first anniversary since Cuba reopened its embassy in Washington,
D.C., one thing is clear: The reestablishment of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic
ties — which I have cautiously supported in this column — has not helped
improve by one iota Cuba's human rights situation. On the contrary,
human rights abuses have worsened.

That's a fair epitaph for the Obama policy: it made human rights in Cuba
worse. And that is why it was politically sensible and morally right to
end it.

Trump is maintaining diplomatic relations and allowing flights and
cruise ships to Cuba, but trying to end the phony individual beach
gambols that masquerade as something more serious. And he is ending the
bonanza for the Cuban military, which owns most of Cuba's tourist industry.

The overall effect of Trump's moves is logically to push Americans
toward group visits that have a serious purpose beyond tourism, and
toward individual Cuban economic efforts like Air BnB accommodations,
rooms in private homes, and small private restaurants—all of which help
the Cuban people.

And if the regime is caught between the people's desire for economic
progress and the end of Obama's foolish policy, perhaps this will push
Castro to allowing even more private economic activity.

Hats off to Senator Marco Rubio, a key architect of the new policy whose
pressure on the Trump administration has now put human rights in Cuba
right back at the heart of U.S. policy. And to the President, who made
the right decision just a few months into his administration.

Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as
deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor
in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised
U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.

Source: Elliott Abrams: Has Trump Made the Right Move in Cuba? -
https://www.yahoo.com/news/elliott-abrams-trump-made-move-145325141.html Continue reading
Editorial: Trump, Obama and subjugated Cubans
DDC | Madrid | 22 de Junio de 2017 - 14:21 CEST.

Cuba's official television aired Donald Trump's recent appearance at the
Manuel Artime Theater in Miami. That makes two speeches by US presidents
that Cubans on the Island have been able to watch recently.

In March of 2016, at his appearance in Havana, Barack Obama proposed a
policy based on the creation of opportunities, with an emphasis on the
empowerment of entrepreneurs. Brimming with optimism, Obama expressed
his belief that economic liberalization would spawn the democratization
of Cuban society – despite the examples of China and Vietnam. His words
sparked widespread popular support. At the same time, human rights
violations increased, and the military elite, now converted into a
business group, exploited the new scenario.

Barack Obama underestimated the degree to which independent
entrepreneurs are subjugated by the regime, and the military elite
stifles any kind of economic competition. With unintended effects, his
policy of empowerment ended up actually abetting the oppressors.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has just announced that he will be
relentless against this elite. His coercive turn in this regard is the
right move, but he has failed to generate broad support for it in the
US. And his speech at the Manuel Artime theater, rife with electoral
rhetoric, generated a counterproductive image for a people tired of the
confrontational gestures.

Those who advise the US president ought to take better advantage of the
Castro regime's calculated decision to televise his speeches. Trump
should not only send a clear message to Cuban exiles in Miami, but also
to the several million Cubans on the Island who can see him.

Source: Editorial: Trump, Obama and subjugated Cubans | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1498134062_32050.html Continue reading
… on trips to Cuba to learn about Afro Cubans and their links … counterparts at the University of Havana. Wickham told the AFRO that … direct financial transactions with the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services … lambasted Cuba for its poor human rights record and demanded the CubanContinue reading
… has helped Cuba’s Castro regime rather than ordinary Cuban citizens. Of … photo, a tour bus along Havana’s Malecon. As President Donald … an embassy in Havana; reduced immigration favoritism for Cubans, otherwise known as … and visitation by Cuban Americans; and even removal of Cuba from the … Continue reading
… of embassies in Washington and Havana. The executive order Trump signed … going to Cuba and bans US business transactions with the Cuban military …  tourism but directly into the Cuban economy. For example in the … to force Cuba to address human rights issues. In response, Havana said … Continue reading
Consensus and Dissent in the Face of Trump's Cuba Policy

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 June 2017 – Over the weekend the
official media have repeated ad nauseam the declaration of the
government in response to Donald Trump's speech about his policy toward
Cuba. The declaration's rhetoric recalls the years before the diplomatic
thaw, when political propaganda revolved around confrontation with our
neighbor to the north.

Beyond these words, many on the island are breathing a sigh of relief
because the main steps taken by Barack Obama will not be reversed. The
remittances on which so many families depend will not be cut, nor will
the American Embassy in Havana be closed.

On the streets of Cuba, life continues its slow march, far from what was
said at the Artime Theater in Miami and published by the Plaza of the
Revolution.

Julia Borroto put a bottle of water in the freezer on Saturday to be
ready for the line he expects to find waiting for him Monday outside the
United States Embassy. This 73-year-old from Camagüey, who arrived in
the capital just after Trump's speech, remembers that Trump had said "he
was going to put an end to the visas and travel, but I see that it isn't
so."

The retiree also had another concern: the reactivation of the wet
foot/dry foot policy eliminated by Obama last January. "I have two
children who were plotting to go to sea. I just sent them a message to
forget about it."

The hopes of many frustrated rafters were counting on the magnate to
restore the migratory privileges that Cubans enjoyed for more than two
decades, but Trump defrauded them. Hundreds of migrants from the island
who have been trapped in Central America on their way to the US were
also waiting for that gesture that did not arrive.

Among the self-employed, concern is palpable. Homeowners who rent to
tourists and private restaurant owners regret that the new policy will
lead to a decline in American tourists on the island. The so-called
yumas are highly desired in the private sector, especially for their
generous tips.

Mary, who runs a lodging business in Old Havana, is worried. "Since the
Americans began to come, I hardly have a day with empty rooms." She had
made plans on the basis of greater flexibilities and hoped "to open up
more to tourism."

On national television there is a flood of "indignant responses from the
people" including no shortage of allusions to sovereignty, dignity and
"the unwavering will to continue on the path despite difficulties." The
Castro regime is seizing the opportunity to reactivate the dormant
propaganda machinery that had been missing its main protagonist: the enemy.

However, away from the official microphones people are indifferent or
discontented with what happened. A pedicab driver swears not to know
what they are talking about when he is asked about Friday's
announcements, and a retiree limits himself to commenting, "Those people
who applaud Trump in Miami no longer remember when they were here
standing in line for bread."

Of the thirteen activists who met with Barack Obama during his trip to
Havana, at least five expressed opinions to this newspaper about the
importance of the new policy towards Cuba.

José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), was
at that table in March 2016 and was also mentioned on this occasion by
Donald Trump during his speech. The activist had planned to be in Miami
for the occasion, but at the airport in Holguin was denied exit and was
subsequently arrested.

"It is the speech that had to be given and the person who could have
avoided it is Raul Castro," the former political prisoner asserts
categorically. Ferrer believes that Obama did the right thing whenhe
began a new era in relations between the two countries but "the Castro
regime's response was to bite the hand that was extended to it."

In the opinion of the opposition leader, in the last 20 months
repression has multiplied and "it was obvious that a different medicine
had to be administered" because "a dictatorship like this should not be
rewarded, it should be punished and more so when it was given the
opportunity to improve its behavior and did not do so."

Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, was also prevented from
flying to Miami to attend the event. For her, the words of the American
president were clear and "if the Cuban regime accepts the conditions
that Donald Trump has imposed on it, Cuba will begin to change."

Soler believes that the Cuban government's response is aimed at
confusing the people, who "do not know exactly what is going on." She
says that Trump wants to maintain business with Cuba "but not with the
military, but directly with the people," something that the official
press has not explained.

Opponent Manuel Cuesta Morúa, who manages the platform #Otro18 (Another
2018), is blunt and points out that "returning to failed policies is the
best way to guarantee failure." The measures announced by Trump, in his
opinion, do not help the changes, and they once again give the Cuban
government "the excuse to show its repressive nature."

The dissident believes that the new policy tries to return the debate on
democracy on the island to the scenario of conflict between Cuba and the
United States, "just when it was beginning to refocus the national
scenario on communication between the Cuban State and its citizens,
which is where it needs to be."

The director of the magazine Convivencia, Dagoberto Valdés, believes
that there is a remarkable difference between the discourse itself
"which seems a return to the past with the use of a language of
confrontation, and the so-called concrete measures that have been taken."

For Valdés there is no major reversal of Obama's policy. "The trips of
the Cuban Americans, the embassy, ​​the remittances are maintained… and
the possibility of a negotiating table remains open when the Cuban
Government makes reforms related to human rights."

Journalist Miriam Celaya predicted that the speech would not be "what
the most radical in Miami and the so-called hard line of the Cuban
opposition expected. What is coming is a process and it does not mean
that from tomorrow no more Americans will come to the Island and that
negotiations of all kinds are finished," she says.

In her usual poignant style, she adds that "regardless of all the
fanfare and the bells and whistles, regardless of how abundant the
smiles, and no matter how much people laughed at Trump's jokes, it
doesn't seem that the changes are going to be as promising as those who
are proclaiming that it's all over for the government."

Celaya sheds light on the fact that the official statement of the Cuban
government "manifests its intention to maintain dialogue and relations
within the framework of respect." This is a great difference with other
times when a speech like that "would have provoked a 'march of the
fighting people' and a military mobilization."

Instead, officialdom has opted for declarations and revolutionary
slogans in the national media. But in the streets, that rhetoric is just
silent. "People are tired of all this history," says a fisherman on the
Havana Malecon. "There is no one who can fix it, but no one who can sink
it."

Source: Consensus and Dissent in the Face of Trump's Cuba Policy –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/consensus-and-dissent-in-the-face-of-trumps-cuba-policy/ Continue reading
… has helped Cuba’s Castro regime rather than ordinary Cuban citizens. Of … photo, a tour bus along Havana’s Malecon. As President Donald … an embassy in Havana; reduced immigration favoritism for Cubans, otherwise known as … and visitation by Cuban Americans; and even removal of Cuba from the … Continue reading
Cuba Won't Negotiate Trump's New Policy
At a Monday news conference, the nation's foreign minister called the
latest deal "a grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold War."
ARIA BENDIX JUN 19, 2017 NEWS

Speaking at a news conference in Vienna, Austria on Monday, Cuba's
foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, said his nation was not interested in
negotiating with the Trump administration over a newly-proposed policy
to limit tourism and trade to the island. Cuba "will never negotiate
under pressure or under threat," Rodriquez said, while also refusing to
return U.S. fugitives to whom Cuba has granted asylum. "Cuba conceded
political asylum or refuge to U.S. fighters for civil rights," Rodriguez
said. "These persons will not be returned to the United States."

At a Friday speech in Miami's Little Havana district, President Trump
announced he was "canceling the last administration's completely
one-sided deal with Cuba" in an effort to undermine the nation's current
regime, led by President Raúl Castro. "With God's help," Trump said, "a
free Cuba is what we will soon achieve." While many of the specifics
have yet to be worked out, the new policy intends to reinstate travel
restrictions that were loosened under the Obama administration. The
policy also aims to prevent U.S. companies from doing business with
Cuba's Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA)— a conglomerate
tied to many sectors of Cuba's economy, including tourism.

On Friday, Trump said the deal could be subject to negotiation—with the
exception of a few key demands. "To the Cuban government, I say, put an
end to the abuse of dissidents, release the political prisoners, stop
jailing innocent people, open yourselves to political and economic
freedoms, [and] return the fugitives from American justice," Trump said.
"When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be
ready, willing, and able to come to the table to negotiate that much
better deal for Cubans, for Americans."

Trump also used his speech to call for the return of "the cop–killer
Joanne Chesimard," otherwise known as Assata Shakur. Chesimard, a black
nationalist, was granted asylum in Cuba in 1984 after receiving a life
sentence for the death of a New Jersey state trooper. On Monday,
Rodriquez directly responded to Trump's order, arguing that the U.S. had
no "legal or moral basis" to demand Chesimard's return or that of any
other U.S. fugitive.

While Cuba has previously expressed a willingness to negotiate bilateral
issues with the Trump administration, their tone changed dramatically
with the unveiling of the new policy on Friday. The Castro government
has since released a statement saying that the U.S. is "not in the
condition to lecture us" on human rights abuses, citing the GOP health
care plan and police brutality as examples of the U.S.'s own violations.
Rodriquez reinforced this message on Monday, stating that "Cuba will
make no concessions on its sovereignty and its independence, will not
negotiate over its principles, and will never accept [imposed] conditions."

While Rodriquez admitted that Trump's new policy "will wreak economic
damage" on Cuban companies and private sector workers, he argued that it
would only serve to further unite his government. Rodriquez also noted
that U.S. companies and citizens would suffer from limited economic and
cultural exchange with Cuba. Indeed, this very thinking motivated the
Obama administration to open the lines of trade and communication with
Cuba in 2014, following a 50-year-old embargo that did little to improve
conditions in the nation. As a result, the administration paved the way
for major companies like Airbnb and Starwood to access the Cuban market,
while spurring entrepreneurship among Cuban citizens.

Trump's new policy threatens to stymie this growth while placing
high-level U.S.-Cuba negotiations on the chopping block. With Rodriquez
now calling Trump's policy "a grotesque spectacle straight from the Cold
War," it seems the lines of dialogue between top U.S. and Cuban
officials have already begun to close—and, with them, the chance to
witness the long-term results of improved diplomatic relations.

Source: Cuba Won't Negotiate Trump's New Policy - The Atlantic -
https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/cuba-wont-negotiate-trumps-new-policy/530847/ Continue reading
… President Obama’s opening to Cuba. Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) released … on his campaign promises. The Cuban government is a military dictatorship … American companies and legitimate Cuban companies empower the Cuban people and promote … . The U.S. Embassy in Havana will remain open, and the … Continue reading
… rights in America and Cuba made by Cuban officials. The audience, eager … nations like North Korea. But Cuban officials said ‘really?’ Because the … Cuban-American relations. Sunny Hostin was next, prefacing her blatant comparison of Cuba … help the Cuban people. [ Talking over one another ] WHOOPI: The Cuban people … Continue reading
… change” for Cuba. No easing of US sanctions on Cuba, he said … in Cuba on the pretext of human rights violations. While the Cuban … firms to do business in Cuba. Certainly foreign competitors of US … record justifies a return to Cuba sanctions and travel prohibitions. But … Continue reading
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 June 2017 – Over the weekend the official media have repeated ad nauseam the declaration of the government in response to Donald Trump’s speech about his policy toward Cuba. The declaration’s rhetoric recalls the years before the diplomatic thaw, when political propaganda revolved around confrontation with our neighbor to the … Continue reading "Consensus and Dissent in the Face of Trump’s Cuba Policy" Continue reading
… Rights Watch reported that the Cuban government has long repressed dissent … of employment,” it adds. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and … Watch warned, however, that ordinary Cubans — the people that Trump said … came to Cuba, but not other countries. “Why is Cuba the only … Continue reading
… . President Donald Trump against Cuba. (Photo: PL) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez … , particularly against African-Americans,’ said the Cuban foreign minister at a press … Islamic religion and culture. The Cuban diplomat pointed out that war … Continue reading
… Cold War policies and insisted Havana will not be bullied. Talking … the Cubans as a sovereign people, Mr. Rodriguez said, adding that Cuba … . Trump said the opening to Havana had not improved human rights … . The Cuban diplomat, whose remarks were broadcast live back in Cuba, was … Continue reading
… country. The President signalled that Cuban human rights violations were a … from flowing to the Cuban government. The Cuban Foreign Minister saw a … would strengthen Cuban patriotism. In addition, Mr Rodriguez said that Cuba wouldn … conservative Cuban voters in Florida. “This is not about the Cuban military … Continue reading
The good, bad, and ugly of Trump's new Cuba policy
By Ilya Somin June 18 at 3:18 PM

Late last week, President Trump announced a change in US policy towards
the communist dictatorship in Cuba. Although Trump claimed he was
"canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with
Cuba," his new approach actually leaves most of Obama's policies in
place. It does not end normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba,
nor would it bar most US trade and investment there.

Trump's new policy has some good elements, some bad ones, and one truly
awful perpetuation of the worst of Obama's policy. On the plus side, the
new policy bars US trade and investment in enterprises owned by the
Cuban military and secret police. Even if you believe that trade and
investment are beneficial and likely to stimulate liberalization in
Cuba, that is surely not true of commerce that directly enriches the
very entities that perpetuate repression in one of the world's last
largely unreformed communist despotisms.

Also potentially beneficial is the plan to convene a State Department
task force on increasing internet access for Cubans. This could make it
easier for dissidents to organize, and other Cubans to utilize
information sources not controlled by the state. Obviously, whether this
initiative actually achieves anything remains to be seen.

Much more dubious is Trump's policy of tightening restrictions on travel
to Cuba by Americans. I can understand the point that such travel often
enriches the regime. On the other hand, travel restrictions are a
significant infringement on freedom, and it is far from clear that they
actually do much to undermine the government's grip on power. Americans
are not restricted from traveling to other nations with oppressive
governments, including some that are as bad or almost as bad as Cuba's.
At the very least, we should not restrict Americans' freedom to travel
unless there is strong evidence that doing so really will have a
substantial beneficial effect on human rights in Cuba.

Contrary to the expectations of its defenders, Barack Obama's
normalization policy has not resulted in any improvement in Cuban human
rights. Its onset actually coincided with an upsurge in repression, and
the liberal Human Rights Watch group reports that, in some ways, the
government has actually increased its harassment and persecution of
dissidents in recent years. Whether Trump's policy brings better results
remains to be seen. They could hardly be much worse.

One one key point, however, Trump has perpetuated the very worst of
Obama's approach. He has decided to maintain Obama's cruel policy
reversal on Cuban refugees, which effectively bars the vast majority of
them from staying in the United States, ending decades of bipartisan
policy welcoming at least those who manage to make it to US soil.

Some defend Obama's shift by arguing that the previous approach unduly
favored to Cuban refugees over those fleeing other repressive regimes.
But any such inequality should be cured by treating other refugees
better, not consigning Cubans to oppression. It is better that at least
some refugees be saved than that all be condemned to further abuse in
the name of equality.

In a speech in Miami announcing his new Cuba policy, Trump denounced
Cuba's repressive policies, including its "abuse of dissidents" and
"jailing [of] innocent people." But his crocodile tears about the plight
of Cuban victims of communist oppression ring hollow, so long as he bars
virtually all of them from finding refuge in the US, and instead
perpetuates Obama's new policy of consigning them to the tender mercy of
their oppressors.

Sadly, Trump is not the only hypocrite here. To their credit, liberal
Democrats have rightly condemned Trump's travel ban executive order, and
attempt to bar Syrian refugees. But most Democrats have either ignored
or actively supported the cruel new policy on Cuban refugees – perhaps
because that policy was initiated by a Democratic president (though now
also continued by Trump).

Here, as elsewhere, we should try to set aside partisan bias. The
barring of refugees fleeing brutal oppressors is unjust regardless of
whether it was done by a Democratic president or a Republican one, and
regardless of whether the rulers oppressing them are communists,
right-wing despots, or radical Islamists. In most cases, the US is not
responsible for the misdeeds of oppressive governments abroad. But we
are morally responsible for using government coercion to prevent them
from finding safety, and returning them to the control of the very
forces they are fleeing.

Source: The good, bad, and ugly of Trump's new Cuba policy - The
Washington Post -
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/06/18/the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-trumps-new-cuba-policy/?utm_term=.e732a7d1f7ee Continue reading
… with companies affiliated with the Cuban military and U.S. tourism … the U.S. embassy in Havana, which Obama re-established in 2015 … damage to the Cuban dictatorship, they will give Cuba new ammunition to … the Cuban regime’s oppression of its people to what Cuba will … Continue reading
Better ties between the U.S. and Cuba? Miami's Cubans are divided
Les Neuhaus

When President Trump scaled back President Obama's pact that broadened
relations with Cuba, he said he was "completely canceling" a "terrible
and misguided deal."

There was a time in Florida when the Cuban American community would have
reacted to such an announcement with almost uniform approval.

But a paradigm shift has occurred over the last 20 years. Younger
generations of Cuban Americans have been looking for opportunities to
capitalize on trade and business with Cuba. According to a 2016 poll by
Florida International University's Cuban Research Institute, a majority
of Cuban Americans oppose the U.S. embargo on the island and want better
relations.

Not surprisingly, Trump's announcement, made in Miami's Little Havana,
left some cheering but many in the business community disappointed.

Vicente Amor, vice president of ASC International USA, a Florida-based
commercial travel agency specializing in executive-service trips to
Cuba, said that aside from the drop in business expected from the Trump
doctrine on Cuba, the president's action signaled another issue.

"The problem is not only the impact of the changes," he said. When the
Obama administration forged the pact to improve U.S.-Cuban relations,
the work was done without input from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
and what Amor called "the Miami extremists." This time, he said, they
were "at the center of the deal," along with the Treasury Department's
Office of Foreign Assets Control. For Amor, that's a bad development.


Contrary to Trump's sweeping statements, he did not completely gut the
Obama administration agreement. However, it will affect a large
community of entrepreneurs — both in the U.S. and in Cuba — that had
been at the forefront of establishing economic ties between the two
nations, according to the Washington, D.C.-based group, Engage Cuba, a
coalition of pro-Cuban business companies that includes P&G, Viacom,
Honeywell and Choice Hotels.

"We are encouraged that the Trump administration wants to help Cuba's
private sector, but unfortunately, the people who will be most
negatively impacted by this directive are Cuban entrepreneurs,"
Madeleine Russak, spokeswoman for Engage Cuba, said Saturday.

"The confusion that will surround this policy will undoubtedly stifle
U.S. demand to travel to the island," she said. "Additionally, by
requiring Americans to travel in tour groups, the administration is not
only making it more expensive for everyday Americans to travel to the
island, but it pushes them away from staying in private homes, which are
unable to accommodate large tour groups, and into state run hotels."

Albert Fox, a Cuban American from Tampa, which has a generations-old
Cuban community descended from the war for independence at the turn of
the last century, said that although commercial flights might continue
under the new policy, Trump's decision will hurt American and foreign
businesses.

"Overnight he's eliminating hundreds and hundreds of people that were
going there on a daily basis," said Fox, who serves as president of the
Tampa-based Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation. "Do you
think Southwest could cancel flights eventually for a lack of passengers?"

On Saturday, Southwest Airlines responded to that very question.

"Southwest is now reviewing the president's statements made in South
Florida and is assessing [the] impact any proposed changes could have on
our current scheduled service to Cuba," airline spokesman Dan Landson
said by email Saturday.

Amor, the travel industry executive, said the trade embargo is patronizing.

"I don't like President Trump's policy," he said. "It treats Cuba like a
colony and fails to recognize Cuba as a sovereign nation."

Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to roll back Obama's
Cuban initiative, and Rubio had lobbied Trump intensely to keep that
promise. Among other things, the new rules prohibit Americans from
spending money on businesses controlled by the military.

"Economic practices that benefit the Cuban military at the expense of
the Cuban people will soon be coming to an end #BetterDealforCuba,"
Rubio tweeted.

But in the Cuban community, the pact drew diverse opinions from
Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. On Saturday
he tweeted, "Whatever the intent, new Cuba regs help Cuban Govt and hurt
Cuban entrepreneurs."

A day earlier, he suggested on Twitter that the Senate weigh in on
U.S.-Cuba ties: "There is overwhelming support in the US Senate to allow
all Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba. Let's vote!"

Despite the generation shift, many in Florida's Cuban American community
resist any engagement with the Cuban communist government.

"The Obama administration's policy towards Cuba consisted of a slew of
unconditional and unilateral concessions that placed business interests
over human rights and democracy," said Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat,
co-founder and spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate, a
Miami-based "resistance" group to the Castro government. "These
unilateral concessions to the Castro regime actually emboldened them to
increase their repression against the Cuban people. ... Only [the] rule
of law in Cuba would guarantee American investment and protect the Cuban
people."

Source: Better ties between the U.S. and Cuba? Miami's Cubans are
divided - LA Times -
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-miami-cuba-20170618-story.html Continue reading
… steps to normalize relations with Cuba, President Donald Trump on Friday … Continue reading
… us. "The statement by Havana asserted by Trump`s Miami … the US and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by … United Nations to lift the Cuban embargo until more is done … ; Giving a strong rebuttal, the Cuban government stated that Trump`s … Continue reading
… . exported tons of products to Cuba. Cubans, who had little access to … Cuba. “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban … the U.S. Embassy in Havana, and commercial flights and cruise … Cuba that respects human rights.” Responding to Trump’s announcement, the CubanContinue reading
… in Cuba with a speech in Miami on June 16, 2017. HAVANA, Cuba … was “full of hostile rhetoric,” Havana’s statement said, adding that … the US and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by … remember what happened.” Applauding the Cuban dissidents in the audience, some … Continue reading
… ;full of hostile rhetoric," Havana's statement said, adding … the US and Cuba and prohibit commerce with Cuban businesses owned by … around the globe." The Cuban government rebuked those statements in … what happened." Applauding the Cuban dissidents in the audience, some … Continue reading
What does Trump's new Cuba policy mean for travel to island?
MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and DAVID KOENIG,Associated Press • June 17,

HAVANA (AP) — Here's what's changing with President Donald Trump's new
policy on travel to Cuba, announced Friday:

BEFORE DETENTE

Before former President Barack Obama launched detente with Cuba in
December 2014, most Americans without family ties to Cuba traveled to
the island on expensive guided tours dedicated to full-time "meaningful
interaction" with the Cuban people and — in principle at least —
avoiding activities that could be considered tourism, which is illegal
under U.S. law.

"People-to-people" tour companies needed special licenses from the U.S.
Treasury Department and were regularly audited and faced steep fines or
loss of licenses for allowing travelers to engage in tourism.

In Cuba, U.S. tour companies were required to contract guides, tour
buses and hotel rooms from the Cuban government, meaning U.S. travelers
were effectively under the constant supervision of the government. As a
result, they were often presented with activities and talks favoring
Cuba government positions on domestic and international issues.

OBAMA'S REFORMS

Obama eliminated the tour requirement, allowing Americans to travel to
Cuba on individual "people-to-people" trips that were in reality
indistinguishable from travel to any other country in the world.
Travelers were legally required to maintain logs of their full-time
"people-to-people" schedules but the Obama administration made clear it
would not enforce the requirement.

Online lodging booker Airbnb was allowed into Cuba, and commercial
flights between the U.S. and Cuba resumed after more than half a
century. As a result, U.S. travel to Cuba roughly tripled by the time
Obama left office. U.S. travelers are engaging in what amounts to
illegal tourism, but they are also pumping hundreds of millions of
dollars into the restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts that are driving the
growth of Cuba's nascent private sector.

TRUMP'S ROLLBACK, AND WHAT IT MEANS

Trump will re-impose the requirement that "people-to-people" travelers
can only come to Cuba with heavily regulated tour groups. Many Cuban
entrepreneurs fear this will stifle the American travel that has allowed
so many of them to flourish since the start of detente.

The policy will also ban most American financial transactions with the
military-linked conglomerate that dominates much of the Cuban economy,
including dozens of hotels, along with state-run restaurants and tour buses.

This will almost certainly make all American travel to the island a
complicated maze of avoiding payments to military-linked monopolies
ranging from hotels to gas stations to convenience stores.

Sen. Marco Rubio, who claims credit for writing the Trump policy along
with a fellow Cuban-American and Florida Republican, Rep. Mario
Diaz-Balart, tweeted Friday that individual American travelers will
still be able to go to Cuba for the purpose of supporting the Cuban
people, a category that includes helping human rights organizations and
non-governmental groups meant to strengthen democracy and civil society.

WHEN DOES IT TAKE EFFECT?

The new realities of U.S. travel to Cuba will be determined by the
regulations that federal agencies will produce as a result of the new
policy. A presidential memorandum gives the government 90 days before it
even starts to rewrite Cuba travel regulations, meaning it could be many
months before it's clear what the change means for American travelers.

The Treasury Department said individuals who bought an airline ticket or
rented a room or car before Trump's announcement could make additional
travel-related purchases for that travel under the Obama policy, even if
their trip to Cuba takes place after the new, stricter Trump regulations
go into effect.

Of course, the mere news of the change is likely to have a chilling
effect on travel to Cuba.

___

Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein

David Koenig on Twitter: http://twitter.com/airlinewriter

Source: What does Trump's new Cuba policy mean for travel to island? -
https://www.yahoo.com/news/does-trumps-cuba-policy-mean-travel-island-181604922.html Continue reading
Trump rolls back some, not all, changes in US-Cuba relations
Darlene Superville, Michael Weissenstein and Josh Lederman, Associated
Press, Associated Press • June 17, 2017

MIAMI (AP) -- Pressing "pause" on a historic detente, President Donald
Trump thrust the U.S. and Cuba back on a path toward open hostility with
a blistering denunciation of the island's communist government. He
clamped down on some commerce and travel but left intact many new
avenues President Barack Obama had opened.

The Cuban government responded by rejecting what it called Trump's
"hostile rhetoric." Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue
"respectful dialogue" with on topics of mutual interest.

Even as Trump predicted a quick end to President Raul Castro's regime,
he challenged Cuba to negotiate better agreements for Americans, Cubans
and those whose identities lie somewhere in between. Diplomatic
relations, restored only two years ago, will remain intact. But, in a
shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would
stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.

"America has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors," Trump said Friday
in Miami's Little Havana, the cradle of Cuban-American resistance to
Castro's government. "Officially, today, they are rejected."

Declaring Obama's pact with Castro a "completely one-sided deal," Trump
said he was canceling it. In practice, however, many recent changes to
boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are. Trump cast that as a sign the
U.S. still wanted to engage with Cuba in hopes of forging "a much
stronger and better path."

In a statement released Friday evening on government-run websites and
television, Cuban President Raul Castro's administration said Trump's
speech was "loaded with hostile rhetoric that recalls the times of open
confrontation."

The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba
wants to continue negotiations with the U.S. on a variety of subjects.
"The last two years have shown that the two countries can cooperate and
coexist in a civilized way," it said.

Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. U.S. airlines and
cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island 90 miles south of
Florida. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which once let most Cuban
migrants stay if they made it to U.S. soil but was terminated under
Obama, will remain terminated. Remittances from people in America to
Cubans won't be cut off.

But individual "people-to-people" trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by
Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited. And the
U.S. government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing
a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities."

The changes won't go into effect until new documents laying out details
are issued. Once implemented Trump's policy is expected to curtail U.S.
travel by creating a maze of rules for Americans to obey. The policy
bans most financial transactions with a yet-unreleased list of entities
associated with Cuba's military and state security, including a
conglomerate that dominates much of Cuba's economy, such as many hotels,
state-run restaurants and tour buses.

Surrounded by Florida Republican officials, the president was unabashed
about the political overtones of his election victory and Friday's
announcement:

"You went out and you voted, and here I am, like I promised."

Cheered by Cuba hardliners in both parties, Trump's new policy is
broadly opposed by U.S. businesses eager to invest in Cuba.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically supportive of GOP presidents,
predicted the changes would limit prospects for "positive change on the
island," while Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said Trump's policy was
"misguided" and will hurt the U.S. economically.

Trump's declaration in a crowded, sweltering auditorium was a direct
rebuke to Obama, for whom the diplomatic opening with Cuba was a central
accomplishment of his presidency.

Yet it also exposed the shortcomings in Obama's approach.

Unable to persuade Congress to lift the decades-old trade embargo, Obama
had used his power to adjust the rules that implement the embargo to
expand built-in loopholes. 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.

Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser who negotiated
Obama's opening with the Cubans, said it was disappointing Trump was
halting the momentum that had built but added that it could have been worse.

"This is a limitation on what we did, not a reversal of what we did,"
Rhodes said in an interview.

For Cubans, the shift risks stifling a nascent middle class that has
started to rise as Americans have flocked to the island on airlines,
patronizing thousands of private bed-and-breakfasts.

"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban
entrepreneurs," said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a restaurant
in Havana. "We're the ones who are hurt."

Granma, the official organ of Cuba's Communist Party, described Trump's
declarations in real-time blog coverage Friday as "a return to
imperialist rhetoric and unilateral demands." Cuba's government may not
formally respond to Trump's speech until a speech Monday by its foreign
minister.

The Castro government is certain to reject Trump's list of demands,
which includes releasing political prisoners, halting what the U.S. says
is abuse of dissidents and allowing greater freedom of expression.
Refusing to negotiate domestic reforms in exchange for U.S. concessions
is perhaps the most fundamental plank of Cuba's policy toward the U.S.

Cuba functioned as a virtual U.S. colony for much of the 20th century,
and even reform-minded Cubans are highly sensitive to perceived U.S.
infringements on national sovereignty. 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.

"I do believe that end is in the very near future," he said.

Cuba's 1,470-word statement Friday night labeled Trump a hypocrite for
calling on Cuba to improve human rights, saying the U.S. government "is
threatening more limits on health care that would leave 23 million
people without insurance ... and marginalizes immigrants and refugees,
particular those from Islamic countries."

The statement reiterates Cuba's commitment to "the necessary changes
that we're making now as part of the updating of our socio-economic
model," but says "they will continue being decided in a sovereign way by
the Cuban people."

The U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution,
and spent decades trying to either overthrow the government or isolate
the island, including by toughening an economic embargo first imposed by
President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties.
Less than a year later, the U.S. Embassy in Havana re-opened, and Obama
paid a historic visit to Havana in 2016.

___

Weissenstein reported from Havana and Lederman from Washington.

Source: Trump rolls back some, not all, changes in US-Cuba relations -
https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-rolls-back-not-changes-us-cuba-relations-073828473--politics.html Continue reading
Trump's Cuba decision gives pause to U.S. companies doing business there
by Julia Horowitz @juliakhorowitz
June 16, 2017: 7:03 PM ET

President Trump said he's "canceling" Obama's deal with Cuba. But that
agreement was good for a lot of American businesses.
Many U.S. firms have welcomed the opening of a new market roughly 100
miles from the U.S. coast.
Now, Trump wants strict enforcement of the tourism ban and will prohibit
commerce with Cuban businesses that are owned by military and
intelligence services.
That could hit travel and construction companies, which have started to
build a presence in Cuba. And many are speaking out.
On Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decried the changes.
"U.S. private sector engagement can be a positive force for the kind of
change we all wish to see in Cuba," Myron Brilliant, the chamber's head
of international affairs, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, today's
moves actually limit the possibility for positive change on the island
and risk ceding growth opportunities to other countries that, frankly,
may not share America's interest in a free and democratic Cuba."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Cuba's inaction on human rights is
a big reason for the policy shift.
Caterpillar (CAT), which has long called for the U.S. government to end
the trade embargo, also weighed in.
The maker of heavy equipment has been working to reenter the Cuban
market since the Obama administration announced that it would
reestablish diplomatic relations in 2014.
"Caterpillar believes that engagement with Cuba continues to represent a
strong opportunity -- not just for American businesses, but to serve as
a powerful tool for change," the company said in a statement. "We will
continue to work closely with policymakers on the best way to accomplish
these goals."
Related: Google launches servers in Cuba to speed up YouTube and search
Many companies in the hospitality industry have already doubled down on
development projects, leaving them particularly exposed to the decision.
Airbnb said it plans to speak with the Trump administration and with
Congress in the coming weeks. The startup said it has hosted 560,000
guests in Cuba since April 2015.
"Travel from the U.S. to Cuba is an important way to encourage
people-to-people diplomacy," the company said in a statement. "While we
are reviewing what this policy could mean for this type of travel, we
appreciate that the policy appears to allow us to continue to support
Airbnb hosts in Cuba who have welcomed travelers from around the world."
Marriott (MAR) noted that the company has invested significant resources
to shore up its Cuba operation, with one hotel open and another in the
works. It said the effect of Trump's order may depend on "forthcoming
regulations."
"We continue to believe that increased travel between the United States
and Cuba would serve to strengthen an evolving bilateral relationship,
and Marriott remains ready to build on the progress that has been made
in the last two years," the company said.
American Airlines (AAL) said it's urging customers planning trips to
Cuba to closely watch for updates from the U.S. government.
"As a global airline, American is committed to continuing to operate
service to Cuba," the company said. "We are reviewing the executive
order to understand any potential impacts to our customers or our
current service."
The carrier has 10 flights from the U.S. to Cuba every day, according to
data from the Official Airline Guide.
CNNMoney (New York)
First published June 16, 2017: 7:03 PM ET

Source: Trump's Cuba decision gives pause to U.S. companies doing
business there - Jun. 16, 2017 -
http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/16/news/trump-cuba-business-community-reaction/index.html Continue reading
National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of
the United States Toward Cuba

MEMORANDUM FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT
THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OF STAFF
THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT
AND BUDGET
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR
NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR
HOMELAND SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM
THE COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE
AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS
ADMINISTRATION
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY
FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL
MANAGEMENT

Section 1. Purpose.

The United States recognizes the need for more freedom and democracy,
improved respect for human rights, and increased free enterprise in
Cuba. The Cuban people have long suffered under a Communist regime that
suppresses their legitimate aspirations for freedom and prosperity and
fails to respect their essential human dignity.

My Administration's policy will be guided by the national security and
foreign policy interests of the United States, as well as solidarity
with the Cuban people. I will seek to promote a stable, prosperous, and
free country for the Cuban people. To that end, we must channel funds
toward the Cuban people and away from a regime that has failed to meet
the most basic requirements of a free and just society.

In Cuba, dissidents and peaceful protesters are arbitrarily detained and
held in terrible prison conditions. Violence and intimidation against
dissidents occurs with impunity. Families of political prisoners are
not allowed to assemble or peacefully protest the improper confinement
of their loved ones. Worshippers are harassed, and free association by
civil society organizations is blocked. The right to speak freely,
including through access to the internet, is denied, and there is no
free press. The United States condemns these abuses.

The initial actions set forth in this memorandum, including restricting
certain financial transactions and travel, encourage the Cuban
government to address these abuses. My Administration will continue to
evaluate its policies so as to improve human rights, encourage the rule
of law, foster free markets and free enterprise, and promote democracy
in Cuba.

Sec. 2. Policy.

It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:

(a) End economic practices that disproportionately benefit the
Cuban government or its military, intelligence, or security agencies or
personnel at the expense of the Cuban people.

(b) Ensure adherence to the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba.

(c) Support the economic embargo of Cuba described in section
4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of
1996 (the embargo), including by opposing measures that call for an end
to the embargo at the United Nations and other international forums and
through regular reporting on whether the conditions of a transition
government exist in Cuba.

(d) Amplify efforts to support the Cuban people through the
expansion of internet services, free press, free enterprise, free
association, and lawful travel.

(e) Not reinstate the "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" policy, which
encouraged untold thousands of Cuban nationals to risk their lives to
travel unlawfully to the United States.

(f) Ensure that engagement between the United States and Cuba
advances the interests of the United States and the Cuban people. These
interests include: advancing Cuban human rights; encouraging the growth
of a Cuban private sector independent of government control; enforcing
final orders of removal against Cuban nationals in the United States;
protecting the national security and public health and safety of the
United States, including through proper engagement on criminal cases and
working to ensure the return of fugitives from American justice living
in Cuba or being harbored by the Cuban government; supporting United
States agriculture and protecting plant and animal health; advancing the
understanding of the United States regarding scientific and
environmental challenges; and facilitating safe civil aviation.

Sec. 3. Implementation.

The heads of departments and agencies shall begin to implement the
policy set forth in section 2 of this memorandum as follows:

(a) Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary
of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce, as appropriate and in
coordination with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of
Transportation, shall initiate a process to adjust current regulations
regarding transactions with Cuba.

(i) As part of the regulatory changes described in this
subsection, the Secretary of State shall identify the entities or
subentities, as appropriate, that are under the control of, or act for
or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services
or personnel (such as Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A. (GAESA),
its affiliates, subsidiaries, and successors), and publish a list of
those identified entities and subentities with which direct financial
transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel
at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.

(ii) Except as provided in subsection (a)(iii) of this
section, the regulatory changes described in this subsection shall
prohibit direct financial transactions with those entities or
subentities on the list published pursuant to subsection (a)(i) of this
section.

(iii) The regulatory changes shall not prohibit
transactions that the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary of
Commerce, in coordination with the Secretary of State, determines are
consistent with the policy set forth in section 2 of this memorandum and:

(A) concern Federal Government operations, including
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and the United States mission in Havana;

(B) support programs to build democracy in Cuba;

(C) concern air and sea operations that support
permissible travel, cargo, or trade;

(D) support the acquisition of visas for permissible
travel;

(E) support the expansion of direct
telecommunications and internet access for the Cuban people;

(F) support the sale of agricultural commodities,
medicines, and medical devices sold to Cuba consistent with the Trade
Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7201 et
seq.) and the Cuban Democracy Act of 2002 (22 U.S.C. 6001 et seq.);

(G) relate to sending, processing, or receiving
authorized remittances;

(H) otherwise further the national security or
foreign policy interests of the United States; or

(I) are required by law.

(b) Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary
of the Treasury, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall
initiate a process to adjust current regulations to ensure adherence to
the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba.

(i) The amended regulations shall require that
educational travel be for legitimate educational purposes. Except for
educational travel that was permitted by regulation in effect on January
27, 2011, all educational travel shall be under the auspices of an
organization subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and all
such travelers must be accompanied by a representative of the sponsoring
organization.

(ii) The regulations shall further require that those
traveling for the permissible purposes of non academic education or to
provide support for the Cuban people:

(A) engage in a full-time schedule of activities that
enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or
promote the Cuban people's independence from Cuban authorities; and

(B) meaningfully interact with individuals in Cuba.

(iii) The regulations shall continue to provide that every
person engaging in travel to Cuba shall keep full and accurate records
of all transactions related to authorized travel, regardless of whether
they were effected pursuant to license or otherwise, and such records
shall be available for examination by the Department of the Treasury for
at least 5 years after the date they occur.
(iv) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the
Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Transportation
shall review their agency's enforcement of all categories of permissible
travel within 90 days of the date the regulations described in this
subsection are finalized to ensure such enforcement accords with the
policies outlined in section 2 of this memorandum.

(c) The Secretary of the Treasury shall regularly audit travel
to Cuba to ensure that travelers are complying with relevant statutes
and regulations. The Secretary of the Treasury shall request that the
Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury inspect the
activities taken by the Department of the Treasury to implement this
audit requirement. The Inspector General of the Department of the
Treasury shall provide a report to the President, through the Secretary
of the Treasury, summarizing the results of that inspection within 180
days of the adjustment of current regulations described in subsection
(b) of this section and annually thereafter.

(d) The Secretary of the Treasury shall adjust the Department of
the Treasury's current regulation defining the term "prohibited
officials of the Government of Cuba" so that, for purposes of title 31,
part 515 of the Code of Federal Regulations, it includes Ministers and
Vice-Ministers, members of the Council of State and the Council of
Ministers; members and employees of the National Assembly of People's
Power; members of any provincial assembly; local sector chiefs of the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; Director Generals and
sub–Director Generals and higher of all Cuban ministries and state
agencies; employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT); employees
of the Ministry of Defense (MINFAR); secretaries and first secretaries
of the Confederation of Labor of Cuba (CTC) and its component unions;
chief editors, editors, and deputy editors of Cuban state-run media
organizations and programs, including newspapers, television, and radio;
and members and employees of the Supreme Court (Tribuno Supremo Nacional).

(e) The Secretary of State and the Representative of the United
States to the United Nations shall oppose efforts at the United Nations
or (with respect to the Secretary of State) any other international
forum to lift the embargo until a transition government in Cuba, as
described in section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act, exists.

(f) The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney
General, shall provide a report to the President assessing whether and
to what degree the Cuban government has satisfied the requirements of a
transition government as described in section 205(a) of the LIBERTAD
Act, taking into account the additional factors listed in section 205(b)
of that Act. This report shall include a review of human rights abuses
committed against the Cuban people, such as unlawful detentions,
arbitrary arrests, and inhumane treatment.

(g) The Attorney General shall, within 90 days of the date of
this memorandum, issue a report to the President on issues related to
fugitives from American justice living in Cuba or being harbored by the
Cuban government.

(h) The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United
States Agency for International Development shall review all democracy
development programs of the Federal Government in Cuba to ensure that
they align with the criteria set forth in section 109(a) of the LIBERTAD
Act.

(i) The Secretary of State shall convene a task force, composed
of relevant departments and agencies, including the Office of Cuba
Broadcasting, and appropriate non-governmental organizations and
private-sector entities, to examine the technological challenges and
opportunities for expanding internet access in Cuba, including through
Federal Government support of programs and activities that encourage
freedom of expression through independent media and internet freedom so
that the Cuban people can enjoy the free and unregulated flow of
information.

(j) The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland
Security shall continue to discourage dangerous, unlawful migration that
puts Cuban and American lives at risk. The Secretary of Defense shall
continue to provide support, as necessary, to the Department of State
and the Department of Homeland Security in carrying out the duties
regarding interdiction of migrants.

(k) The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary
of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the
Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall
annually report to the President regarding the engagement of the United
States with Cuba to ensure that engagement is advancing the interests of
the United States.

(l) All activities conducted pursuant to subsections (a) through
(k) of this section shall be carried out in a manner that furthers the
interests of the United States, including by appropriately protecting
sensitive sources, methods, and operations of the Federal Government.


Sec. 4. Earlier Presidential Actions.

(a) This memorandum supersedes and replaces both National
Security Presidential Directive-52 of June 28, 2007, U.S. Policy toward
Cuba, and Presidential Policy Directive-43 of October 14, 2016, United
States-Cuba Normalization.

(b) This memorandum does not affect either Executive Order 12807
of May 24, 1992, Interdiction of Illegal Aliens, or Executive Order
13276 of November 15, 2002, Delegation of Responsibilities Concerning
Undocumented Aliens Interdicted or Intercepted in the Caribbean Region.

Sec. 5. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or
otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive
department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or
legislative proposals.

(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with
applicable laws and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any
right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in
equity by any party against the United States, its departments,
agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other
person.
(d) The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and directed to
publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Source: National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the
Policy of the United States Toward Cuba | whitehouse.gov -
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/16/national-security-presidential-memorandum-strengthening-policy-united Continue reading
… revolution," Havana said. 'A speech aimed at Cuban Americans… to Cuba and a clampdown on US business dealings with the Cuban … human rights grounds, calling on Cuba to release political prisoners and … Cuban people will continue deciding itself on the changes necessary for CubaContinue reading
… dismantled Barack Obama's Cuba policy, in which the USA … move has been denounced by Havana as increasing the inhumane embargo … USA mentions human rights in Cuba as one of the pretexts … worst human rights outrages in Cuba are practiced at the Guantanamo … Continue reading
Noting the hostile rhetoric of President Donald Trump in his Miami speech and saying the United States was in no position to be giving lessons on human rights, Cuba still … Click to Continue » Continue reading
… revolution," Havana said. 'A speech aimed at Cuban Americans… to Cuba and a clampdown on US business dealings with the Cuban … human rights grounds, calling on Cuba to release political prisoners and … Cuban people will continue deciding itself on the changes necessary for CubaContinue reading
… and democratic Cuba that respects human rights.” But others, particularly Cuban American … Cuban government did not immediately respond to Trump’s speech. In Havana … military and economic cooperation with Cuba. Cuba is about to receive its … the Cuban government.” DeYoung reported from Washington. Nick Miroff in Havana contributed … Continue reading
… and hotels controlled by the Cuban military and security services, Trump … protest in Cuba. Human rights groups and dissidents in Cuba have reported … “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, the still-in-law Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966; in … . embassy in Havana will remain, as will travel by Cuban Americans and … Continue reading

Mario J. Pentón

Donald Trump anunciará en las próximas horas su nueva política hacia Cuba. No hay sobresaltos en Miami, donde las líneas centrales del discurso del presidente ya se conocen desde el jueves tras ser filtradas a la prensa.

Ni restricciones en las remesas ni prohibición de los viajes a la Isla han resultado de la "revisión exhaustiva" a la que el equipo gubernamental había sometido las relaciones con la Isla caribeña. Tampoco el sensible tema de la revocación del último acuerdo migratorio que puso fin a la política pies secos/pies mojados que mantiene a miles de cubanos varados en terceros países.

"Al final el león no es tan fiero como lo pintan", dice Yedsika León, una cubana de 33 años recientemente llegada a Miami que temía que el cambio de política hacia la Isla significara la prohibición de regresar a su país.

"Se decía que regresarían los tiempos de (George W.) Bush cuando los viajes estaban más controlados y el monto de las remesas también", explica.

[[QUOTE:Ni restricciones en las remesas ni prohibición de los viajes a la Isla han resultado de la "revisión exhaustiva" a la que el equipo gubernamental había sometido las relaciones con la Isla caribeña]]León dice no sentirse preocupada por el impacto de las directivas que el presidente Trump anunciará. "Si es como dicen hasta ahora los medios, a quienes va a afectar es a los militares", agrega.

Ningún detalle para la ceremonia es frugal. El lugar escogido para el anuncio es un viejo teatro de la Pequeña Habana, corazón del exilio cubano. El local lleva el nombre de Manuel Artime, uno de los héroes de Bahía de Cochinos, y es gestionado por el Gobierno de la ciudad, en manos del alcalde cubanoamericano Tomás Regalado. En el auditorio estarán las principales organizaciones del exilio, todas marcadas por el envejecimiento tras décadas de combatir al castrismo allende los mares.

Fueron los veteranos de Bahía de Cochinos quienes, resentidos por la reanudación de relaciones diplomáticas con La Habana, respaldaron al actual presidente cuando era apenas un polémico candidato. El voto cubano es tradicionalmente republicano y en las recientes elecciones jugó un importante papel para que Trump ganara el estado de Florida. Ahora el presidente les devuelve el favor, aunque no en la medida que muchos deseaban.

"Si Estados Unidos aplicara lo que dice el embargo y de verdad se tomara en serio la causa de la libertad de Cuba otro gallo cantaría", dice Rafael Izquierdo, un cubanoamericano que lleva viviendo en Miami medio siglo y no piensa volver mientras quede "un Castro vivo".

"Cero divisas, cero viajes, cero comercio. Nada de visitas a Miami ni 20.000 visas. Mano dura es lo que hace falta para que esa tiranía termine. Mientras sigan golpeando a mujeres indefensas y encarcelando a personas por pensar libremente ni un centavo para Castro", dice con pasión.

Las directivas de Trump no llegan a ser la glaciación del deshielo como se esperaba. La bandera de las barras y las estrellas seguirá ondeando en la embajada de Estados Unidos en La Habana y las aerolíneas norteamericanas aterrizarán sin problemas en las pistas antillanas.

La justificación será el irrespeto sostenido del Gobierno de Raúl Castro a los derechos humanos fundamentales. Algunos disidentes cubanos como Antonio Rodiles (Estado de Sats) y el exprisionero político Ángel Moya, Jorge Luís García Pérez Antúnez, (Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata) han aplaudido el giro anunciado por Trump y se encuentran en Miami. Otros han denunciado que se les ha impedido la salida del país como ha sido el caso de Berta Soler (Damas de Blanco) y José Daniel Ferrer (Unpacu)

[[QUOTE:El presidente Trump se limitará a vigilar de cerca las operaciones de empresas y ciudadanos norteamericanos con el poderoso sector empresarial de las Fuerzas Armadas cubanas]]El presidente Trump se limitará a vigilar de cerca las operaciones de empresas y ciudadanos norteamericanos con el poderoso sector empresarial de las Fuerzas Armadas cubanas (GAESA), que según expertos controla el 60% de la economía de la Isla. Desde el turismo hasta la Zona Económica Especial de Mariel así como las antiguas empresas del historiador de La Habana pasan por sus manos.

La retórica de Washington estará más cercana al anterior período republicano y tendrán aparentemente más voz en lo relacionado con Cuba el lobby de congresistas cubanoamericanos. De hecho, el senador Marco Rubio y el representante por Florida, Mario Díaz-Balart son considerados los artífices del giro de la política hacia la Isla.

Un punto importante será la fiscalización de los viajes a la Isla. Obama autorizó 12 categorías bajo las cuales los estadounidenses pueden viajar a Cuba. A partir de las directrices de Trump se dificultarán esos viajes, especialmente en la categoría de contacto pueblo a pueblo. El Departamento del Tesoro velará porque los norteamericanos puedan justificar su estancia en la mayor de las Antillas. El último año más de 280.000 norteamericanos habían visitado Cuba, según datos oficiales.

Emiliana Zamora, una arrendataria de Airbnb en Sancti Spíritus se queja vía telefónica."Muchos de los turistas que estaba recibiendo eran norteamericanos. Si Trump tumba los viajes, como dicen, no solo pierdo mi entradita de dinero, sino que todos los que trabajamos de esto vamos a la quiebra", lamenta.

Zamora dice estar preocupada porque tras la apertura de Obama la Isla se convirtió en tendencia turística, algo que podría revertirse rápidamente.

Mariela Castro, hija del presidente Raúl Castro y una activa embajadora de su Gobierno en las capitales extranjeras confirmó recientemente la preocupación de la Isla con los pasos de Trump. "El mundo hace chistes con Trump, pero en Cuba nos preocupa mucho", dijo la directora del Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex) en Madrid.

[[QUOTE:En las últimas semanas han llovido mensajes de apoyo al legado aperturista de Obama. Desde ONG como Amnistía Internacional y Human Rights Watch hasta los cálculos astronómicos de Engage Cuba]]Otros que también parecen inquietos a juzgar por su febril actividad en la red social Twitter son los funcionarios del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Minrex) de la Isla. La Directora General de la Dirección General de Estados Unidos, Josefina Vidal, una figura clave en las negociaciones de la era Obama dedicó 40 de sus 42 retweets del jueves a temas relacionados con el anuncio de Trump.

En las últimas semanas han llovido mensajes de apoyo al legado aperturista de Obama. Desde ONG como Amnistía Internacional y Human Rights Watch hasta los cálculos astronómicos de Engage Cuba (cuestionados por Foresight Cuba) que cifraba el costo de un cambio radical en la política hacia Cuba en unos 6.600 millones de dólares y 12.295 puestos de trabajo han intentado convencer a Trump de dar marcha atrás en su pugna con La Habana.

Para Guillermo, de 47 años, que vende flores en una esquina de Flagler Street "el problema de Cuba no tiene solución". Lleva 25 años el sur de Florida y cree que en la Isla el Gobierno "vive del miedo de la gente a los americanos" mientras que en Estados Unidos "muchos viven del negocio de llevar la democracia a Cuba".

Esta tarde, mientras el presidente anuncie sus directrices hacia la Isla, él estará trabajando para pagar "sus bills (facturas)".

Continue reading
… he restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015. Some observers expect … follow a harder line against Havana over human rights. The new … and Rep. Mario Daz-Balart, both Cuban-American Republicans from Florida, have been … .S. raised the issue with Havana repeatedly behind the scenes. Chesimard … Continue reading
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 13 June 2017 – In less than 72 hours President Donald Trump will declare in Miami the new basis for the United States government’s policies towards Cuba. At that time the decisions of his predecessor Barack Obama, during the process of normalization of diplomatic relations with the island, could be paused … Continue reading "Trump And Cuba, Or How To Bet On The Wrong Winner" Continue reading