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HAVANA – The liberalization of marijuana laws is fueling drug trafficking but Cuba … ; Louisiana. They had ties to Cuba, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Honduras. #PCSO … United States no longer offers Cubans special immigration treatment. The United … of admitting Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil. Cuba had … Continue reading
HAVANA (Reuters) - The liberalisation of … medicinal or recreational purposes. "Cuba is facing a very difficult … United States no longer offers Cubans special immigration treatment. The United … of admitting Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil. Cuba had … Continue reading
HAVANA (Reuters) - The liberalisation of … medicinal or recreational purposes. "Cuba is facing a very difficult … United States no longer offers Cubans special immigration treatment. The United … of admitting Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil. Cuba had … Continue reading
… reforms and favored the Cuban regime over the Cuban people.  President Trump … of the Cuban economy.  American capitalism should never support Cuban communism, and … employee-employer relationship which exists in Cuba remains singularly between the state … Continue reading
Print section Print Rubric:  Donald Trump and Raúl Castro team up to punish Cuban entrepreneursPrint Headline:  Looking backwardsPrint Fly Title:  Cuba and the United States UK Only Article:  standard articleIssue:  India’s prime minister is not as much of a reformer as he seemsFly Title:  Looking backwardsMain image:  20170624_AMP001_0.jpgIT WAS typical Trumpian pageantry. On a bunting-trimmed stage at the Manuel Artime theatre in Miami’s Little Havana neighbourhood, the president of the United States declared on June 16th that he was “cancelling” the “completely one-sided deal with Cuba” made by his predecessor, Barack Obama. There is much less to this than Donald Trump’s pugnacious rhetoric suggests. But the new policy will still hurt Cuba’s fledgling private sector, discourage economic reform and damage Uncle Sam’s prestige in Latin America. The deal ... Continue reading
Exceptional Villas announces expansion into Greek and Greek islands with a great choice of hand picked luxury villas NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, June 22, 2017 / -- Exceptional Villas are passionate about customer service and … Continue reading
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 21 June 2017 — It has been six months since a photo taken from 14ymedio’s newsroom, last 21 December, captured the moment when a reddish sun was about to sink into the longest night of the year. This Wednesday the image reflects the other extreme and the reporters of this … Continue reading "Two Solstices Seen From Our Newsroom" Continue reading
… between the United States and Cuba.  Congresswoman Clarke's statement … travel by American citizens to Cuba and restrict financial transactions with … tried against Cuba for decades, and “if the Cuban people have shown … relationship and solidarity with the Cuban people,” Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis … Continue reading
… of policies aren’t changing: • Cuban-Americans will have unlimited family travel … a thing of the past. Cubans who reached the United States … on the people without benefiting Cuba’s military and tyrannical government … the Cuban people will have an economic advantage over the Cuban military … Continue reading
… that 97 percent of Cubans favored normalized relations.  Cuba has begun to … statement from Cuba.  So far, embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open. Direct flights between the United States and Cuba will continue. Cuban-Americans will still be able … Continue reading
Nerve Repair Biomaterials Market has accounted is expected to reach USD 775.59 by 2024 from USD 326.71 million in 2016 at 11.5% CAGR till 2024. DALLAS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2017 / -- Global Nerve Repair Biomaterials … Continue reading
KO y una nueva trumpada, editorial 486 20 Junio, 2017 8:13 pm por Primavera Digital en Cuba La Habana, Cuba, Redacción Habana, (PD) El régimen militar totalitario castrista ha reaccionado como era de esperar frente al anuncio hecho por el presidente estadounidense Donald Trump de la nueva política que llevará adelante su administración sobre el […] Continue reading
Trump's Cuba Travel Policy Leaves Heads Scratching
Andrew Bender , CONTRIBUTOR
I delve into the business of business travel, and often the fun too.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Just as travel and tourism to Cuba from the United States was heating
up, President Donald Trump made an announcement last Friday that will
cool it down, probably way down. He said he was "canceling the last
administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

While it's not exactly a cancellation, what it is is, at this stage,

"There are a zillion contradictions," says Julia Sweig, senior research
fellow and Cuba expert at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
at the University of Texas. "There is no policy or legal coherence to
what they have announced."

For example, American tour operators, cruise ships and airlines will
still technically be able to operate into Cuba, and U.S. citizens can
still purchase and bring home Cuban products like rum and cigars; both
of these were off limits before the Obama administration relaxed rules
in 2014. But the new policies put in two important restrictions:
- Make it illegal for Americans to patronize facilities related to the
Cuban military, and
- Make individual travel to Cuba far more difficult for Americans.

Currently this is through a program known as people-to-people.
The military issue first. "The state-run tourism organization, GAVIOTA,
is owned by the Cuban military, and it owns the majority of tourism
infrastructure on the island," says Marguerite Fitzgerald, a partner at
the Miami office of Boston Consulting Group in Miami and the author of
BCG's report on Cuban tourism. "Americans will not be allowed to stay in
Cuban hotels, take Cuban buses or rent cars."

Meanwhile, the cutback in individual tourism will mean that Cuba's
growing network of home stays will take a hit. Airbnb says that 560,000
guests have paid some $40 million to private hosts around Cuba since the
company entered the market in April 2015. This in a country where,
Airbnb says, the average monthly wage is $30. This year, Cuba has been
Airbnb's ninth-largest market for Americans heading abroad.

The announcement from the White House directs the Departments of
Commerce and the Treasury to come up with regulations within 30 days.
But, Sweig says, "I expect that when the regulators try to write the new
regulations, they will become mired down."

"I guess the Trump people will publish a map of Cuba with all of the
places Americans won't be able to go to buy a bottle of water, to sleep,
etc.," she adds.

Meanwhile, tour and travel operators are in limbo. "It remains to be
seen which travel companies, cruise lines and tour providers will be
able to successfully navigate the new regulations and which will cease
their operations in Cuba," says Jennine Cohen, managing director for the
Americas at San Francisco-based Geographic Expeditions, which has
operated tours to Cuba for 17 years.

"GeoEx works primarily with small and charming B&Bs, which have no
connection to the Cuban military and should not be affected," she says.

More long term, Cohen says, "As we have successfully operated trips on
and off since 2000, we have adhered to [the U.S. government's] changing
policies and enforcement over time and will continue to do so."

Source: Trump's Cuba Travel Policy Leaves Heads Scratching - Continue reading has published new research report on "Global Software Defined Security Market Research Report and Forecast to 2017-2022" to its database. DALLAS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2017 / -- According to … Continue reading
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Cuba policy July 16 at the Manuel Artime Theater in Little Havana … of Havana called for dialogue between the United States and Cuba, and … magazine for the Archdiocese of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who played … ; and applying them presently to Cuba can "overshadow or delay … Continue reading
La Habana, Cuba, Redacción Habana, (PD) El régimen militar totalitario castrista ha reaccionado como era de esperar frente al anuncio hecho por el presidente estadounidense Donald Trump de la nueva política que llevará adelante su administración sobre el tema cubano. Una Declaración dada a conocer en la prensa oficial, fechada en 16 de junio de 2017 y firmada por esa entelequia que se hace llamar ‘Gobierno Revolucionario’, marca las pautas de una respuesta oficial muy a tono con la intolerancia […] 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

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

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

Source: Consensus and Dissent in the Face of Trump's Cuba Policy –
Translating Cuba - Continue reading
Trump Rolls Back 'Completely One-Sided' Cuba Policy

President Donald Trump Friday announced new restrictions on travel and
business with Cuba, reversing some of the relaxed new relations
instituted two years ago by President Barack Obama.

"Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration's
completely one-sided deal with Cuba," Trump said.

"It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior
administration's terrible deal with the Castro regime," he said "They
made a deal with a government that spreads violence and instability in
the region."

"Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and the
United States of America," he said. "Our new policy begins with strictly
enforcing U.S. law."

He also called for the release of political prisoners and the scheduling
of free elections.

"We will enforce the ban on tourism. We will enforce the embargo," he said.

"We now hold the cards. The previous administration's easing of
restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people. They
only enrich the Cuban regime," he said. "The profits from investment and
tourism flowed directly to the military."

The new moves primarily affect anyone doing business with the Cuban
military, which controls some of the major tourism infrastructure in the
country, as well as individual travelers who were able to visit the
country more freely under "people-to-people" exchanges.

Trump announced the changes in front of a supportive crowd at the Manuel
Artime Theater in the heart of Little Havana. The theater is named in
honor of a leader of Brigade 2506, who participated in the Bay of Pigs
invasion of Cuba in April 1961.

"We will work for the day when a new generation of leaders brings this
long reign of suffering to an end," Trump said. "And I do believe that
end is in the very near future."

He challenged Cuba to "come to the table" for a new agreement that was
in the best interest "of their people and our people and also

"Stop jailing innocent people. Open yourselves to political and economic
freedoms," he said. "Return the fugitives of American justice."

"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 and Americans," he said. "Our embassy remains
open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better

Praise from Florida politicians

Sen. Marco Rubio praised his onetime rival for the Republican
Presidential nomination.

"You will no longer have to endure the spectacle of an American
president doing the wave with a ruthless dictator in a baseball game,"
Rubio said, referring to Obama's historic visit to Cuba last year.

"This sends a strong message," Rubio said. "We will work with the people
of Cuba but we will not empower their oppressors."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott also praised Trump's changed position.

"Today we have a president that understands America must stand for
freedom," Scott said. He said Obama's deal with Cuba was "a capitulation."

Trump's new directive leaves many of the Obama-era policies unchanged.
The new embassies in Cuba and Washington, D.C. will remain open and the
wet-foot dry-foot policy will not be reinstated. Cuban-Americans will
continue to be able to travel to the island and send remittances to
their families still in Cuba.

The crowd at the theater in Little Havana were appreciative of Trump.
Fermin Vazquez was born in Cuba and has been a U.S. citizen for 40
years. He arrived at 6:45 a.m. to be first in line. "I would follow
Trump everywhere," he said.

At Versailles, the restaurant on Calle Ocho that has become a
traditional gathering point when Cuba is in the national news, some
exiles passionately debated the U.S. policy toward the island:

Oswaldo Inguanzo, 80, a veteran from Brigade 2506, was part of the group
that met with candidate Trump last year to discuss Cuba and America's
approach to the island.

"The Brigade had never supported a presidential candidate before," he
said. "But we sent two letters, one to the then-President Obama, who
didn't even acknowledge us, and the other to Trump, who immediately

"He didn't disappoint me," Inguanzo said after Trump's speech. "I felt
he was sincere, so I came here today to see that he fulfills his promise."

Outside near the theater, people began gathering hours before Trump
arrived. Some waited out the rain under awnings and overhangs. Others
allowed themselves to be soaked.

'The Cuban people are the ones that are going to be harmed'

Marla Recio said she has a business in Cuba called Havana Reverie. It
organizes weddings, birthday parties and corporate events for visiting
Americans in Cuba.

"If he decreases travel and cuts that out completely, that means the end
of my business. I'll have to do something else in another different
industry. Right now, most of Cuban entrepreneurs are relying a lot on
American visitors," she said. "The Cuban people are the ones that are
going to be harmed, the ones that are going to suffer. And all of the
families that depend on those businesses."

Ernesto Medina is with the People's Progressive Caucus of Miami-Dade.

"I think what President Trump is doing, rolling back the policy that
President Obama implemented, it's going to hurt business in Cuba," he
said. "A lot of jobs have been created in the private sector to serve
the people traveling to Cuba. That increases the prosperity of the Cuban
people, which is what we all should want to the Cubans."

Medina said he also objects to what he called the "hypocrisy" of
Republicans who tout the benefits of small government.

"Now they're going to be scrutinizing every single American citizen that
travels to Cuba, to see which category they fall under to go there," he
said. "This is an infringement of personal freedoms. We should be able
to travel anywhere we want."

'More of a politician that what we expected'

Some of those gathered outside the theater supported Trump. But Laura
Vianello, a Cuban exile who has lived in Miami since 1960, said she
wished he was doing more.

"I noticed that Trump has become more of a politician than what we
expected from him — to be himself," she said. "We really liked the man
because he has a mind of his own, but we expected more."

Across the street, an anti-Trump protester disagreed.

Bernardo Guitierrez, 70, was also born in Cuba. He said Obama's policies
had helped Cubans.

"I visit Cuba because I still have family there, and I know they're
doing much better," he said. "Little by little, but better."

Cuban exiles also gathered at some of the restaurants on Calle Ocho that
have become synonymous with Little Havana. Jorge Naranja was at
Versailles. He said he voted for Trump in November — but he doesn't
think the policy changes announced on Friday will lead to meaningful
change in Cuba.

He came from Cuba in 1994 and he hasn't been back since, because he
thinks any kind of travel there will just "inject money into the
system," he said.

He said he'd like to see the U.S. either close the door completely to
Cuba, or open up 100 percent if it gets a good offer from the Cuban
government — but he doesn't expect that to happen.

Source: Trump Rolls Back 'Completely One-Sided' Cuba Policy | WLRN - Continue reading
Changes To Cuba Policy Met With Mixed Reactions
Capitol Hill Reporter
3:52 PM 06/19/2017

President Donald Trump's changes to the United State's policy on Cuba,
which tightens restrictions on travel and business transactions between
countries, has been met with mixed reactions by congressional Republicans.

Proponents of the adjustments argue it's necessary for the U.S. to take
a stand against the Castro regimes' humanitarian violations. But critics
argue it will have a negative impact on the people of Cuba and the U.S.

an people are starting to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and
recognize capitalism — which he feels could be hindered once the new
policy is implemented, according to GOP Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas,
who recently traveled to Cuba. He noted the U.S. has relations with
multiple other countries with military-controlled regimes, adding he
believes the policy changes are reflective of a dated viewpoint.

"I think it's in our strategic interest long-term, what we have there
now is a void of leadership, a void of economic direction that's being
killed by Russia, China, North Korea and Iran and other nations,"
Crawford told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "They don't have the
interest of the United States or our well-being — in fact, they have an
invested interest in undermining the United States. So why would we
allow them to carve out a stronger niche every day in the absence of
U.S. economic engagement? We just can't sit back and watch from the
beach in Key West."

Crawford said while he wished former President Barack Obama has involved
Congress more while implementing his administration's Cuba policy, it
largely had a positive impact on both countries.

"I think this [Trump's changes] probably kind of built on the opinion of
a small minority — a very vocal small minority, but a small minority
nonetheless," he said. "You know we feel like we've made some great
progress and building up support, making a pretty compelling case about
what our objectives were why, and so this seems a little obtuse."

Supporters of the new policy say the change will have a positive impact
on the Cuban people since it's aimed at preventing funds from going to
the Cuban military.

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida dismissed the argument the
U.S. should continue to strengthen relations with Cuba due to its
business dealings with other repressive countries.

"It's a dramatic change dramatic change from a policy that frankly was
helping to fund the Castro dictatorship's military and intelligence
services to a policy that helps support the Cuban people and stops the
funding to those entities," he told TheDCNF."But here's the interesting
thing, we have sanctions against North Korea, we have sanctions against
Iran — even though they were greatly weakened by the previous
administration — we have sanctions used in specific cases," Diaz-Balart

Diaz-Balart said it's "ludicrous" to have policies in place that fund a
government that is repressing its people.

"Here's the interesting thing, we have sanctions against North Korea, we
have sanctions against Iran — even though they were greatly weakened by
the previous administration — we have sanctions used in specific cases,"
he continued. "In the case of this hemisphere, where democracy is the
only legitimate form of government according to the OAS [Organization of
American States], in this hemisphere it's in our national security
interest not to fund what the Obama administration called the fourth
most aggressive, most-effective espionage network on the entire planet."

Source: Changes To Cuba Policy Met With Mixed Reactions | The Daily
Caller - 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."

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 - Continue reading
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Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tehran, June 19 (RHC)-- Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that the United States' intentions of "regime change" in Iran will fail, according to the official IRNA news … Continue reading
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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
… undermine the Cuban government,” he stated. “The relationship between Cuba and the United States had a positive impact on the Cuban … made with Cuba. Obama worked to enact several changes to Cuban policy … . He re-established diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015 and loosened some … Continue reading
… strengthen patriotism on the island, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said … European countries, Rodriguez also said Cuba would not accede to Trump … by the United States. "Cuba conceded political asylum or refuge … ; Writing by Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli) Continue reading
… . Embassy in Cuba & Diplomatic relations Unlimited travel by Cuban Americans to … between US and Cuban entities not associated with the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. Obama’s exclusion of CubaContinue 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 - Continue reading
Doulagivers is Offering Live Certification Workshops for their Renowned End of Life Doula Certification Training in July and August this Summer in NYC. NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, June 18, 2017 / -- Doulagivers, the … Continue reading
Panama offers stranded Cuban migrants multiple entry visas if they
return to island

The Panamanian government has a proposal for a group of Cubans stranded
in that country: return voluntarily to the island, become self-employed
entreprenuers known as cuentapropistas and, in exchange, obtain multiple
entry visas and even start-up capital — still to be determined — for
investment purposes.

The proposal — which would apply only to the 126 migrants who are in a
temporary shelter in Gualaca in western Panama — was revealed by
Panama's Deputy Minister of Public Security Jonathan del Rosario, who
said that his country has done "everything possible" to help the
undocumented migrants.

The official made clear that there is no possibility that the 126 Cubans
in the Gualaca camp or the other dozens of Cuban migrants stranded in
Panama following the end of the U.S. Cuban immigration policy — known as
"wet foot, dry foot" — can stay in Panamanian territory.

The Cuban migrants were en route to the U.S.-Mexico border when former
President Barack Obama on Jan. 14 put an end to the policy, which
allowed most Cubans who made it to American soil to stay.

"We have been very frank. Their entry into the country in an irregular
manner makes it impossible for them to qualify for any type of
immigration status in Panama other than refugee status," del Rosario
said, adding that what the Panamanian government is offering is not a
bad choice.

"We are doing the budget consultations and, of course, we have not done
it behind the backs of the government of Cuba," he said. "We did not
take them to Gualaca to deceive them. The range of options we have is
not very wide and the countries we have consulted are not welcoming

Del Rosario said that since the migration crisis in the region began
last year, Panama's government has carried out a "Controlled Flow"
operation to ensure that undocumented migrants entering Panamanian
territory "are properly controlled and enjoy their fundamental rights."

According to data released by the General Directorate of Migration in
that country, more than 39,000 undocumented Cubans have been living in
Panama for the last five years.

Last April, the Panamanian government decided to close a temporary
shelter in the capital run by Caritas, a Catholic Church organization.
Relocation from Panama City to Gualaca in the western province of
Chiriquí was accepted by 126 of the more than 300 migrants who were
staying at the shelter.

The proposal for the migrants to return home and become cuentapropistas,
unveiled at a recent meeting with migrants in Gualaca, remains on the
table and is apparently one of the few solutions left to a government
team that committed to resolve the Cuban migrant issue within 90 days.

Under the proposal, Panama would grant a multiple-entry visa to the
future entrepreneurs so they could purchase products from Panamanian
markets needed for their businesses. It is not a crazy proposition,
considering that so far this year about 11,900 Cubans have entered the
country with stamped visas that allows for multiple entries for tourism
and business purposes.

The offer is limited to the 126 migrants in Gualaca and not those who
refused to go to the shelter, designated by the government as a
temporary refuge, who will be deported if arrested by the immigration

"If not Donald Trump, we hope that the Cuban community in Miami will
flex its muscle, that someone will help us because none of us left Cuba
to stay in Panama or be relocated in Australia," said Yelisvaris Pargas,
one of the Cubans in the Gualaca shelter. "Our goal is to reach the
United States."

Pargas, who is not opposed to returning to the island, said there is
hope among some Cuban migrants that the deputy minister's proposal is

Others, however, are opposed to the measure.

"All the shops in Cuba belong to the government," blurted one of the

"Those visas that are being proposed are of no use to us because
everything is illegal in Cuba," said another of the migrants gathered in
a humid hallway at the shelter.

Yosvani López, a young man from Caibarién in the Villa Clara province in
central Cuba, said the option of a multiple visa would be the best if
there were no other alternative.

"Clearly, we do not want to return," he said. "But if the choice is
between doing it obligatorily or with the option of leaving a door open
to return, I will stay with the second one."

Ivo Torres said Cubans do not migrate because of economic problems, but
rather because they are "seeking freedom" and "want to become someone in

"The Cuban government does not value private initiatives because it
wants the population to be dependent on them," said Torres, who also
questioned whether Raúl Castro would allow them to become self-employed.

Panama's vice minister, meanwhile, said most of the Cuban migrants at
the shelter would not be able to prove fear of persecution if returned
to the island and cited economic woes as the primary reason for having
fled, which means they would not be eligible for refugee status.

"A refugee usually seeks refuge in the first country to which he
arrives. And since they have been through various countries before
getting to Panama, the window for refugee status generally closes," del
Rosario said. "It's not impossible but...that alternative is rarely viable.

"Panama's position on irregular migration has always been to apply
strict control measures," he said. "Before the end of the wet foot, dry
foot policy, if there were no outstanding warrants, migrants were simply
given an order to leave the country and were allowed to continue their
transit across the continent."

Del Rosario also denied that the Cuban migrants are prohibited from
leaving the provisional shelter, essentially serving as a detention
center: "Gualaca is not a hotel or a guesthouse. The idea is not to
deprive them of their rights, but they must have patience."

The migrants can only leave the camp accompanied by an escort once a
week to collect money transfers at a nearby Western Union and to make

"We are inviting them to embrace the option of self-employment because
it will guarantee them access to Panama and economic support," del
Rosario said.

Following the change of immigration policy in the United States, Panama
airlifted some Cuban migrants to the United States but that, too, was
brought to a halt. So Panama reached an accord with Cuba, signed in
early March, and more than 90 migrants have since been deported.

As a result of intermediation from the Catholic Church, the Panamanian
government has agreed to try to resolve the Cuban migrant issue beyond
detention. However, they have made it clear that the current situation
will not be maintained forever.

"Just as with Cuba there are other countries in the region that threaten
to overflow in a migratory crisis and we are only four million
inhabitants," del Rosario said. "We can not welcome everyone."



Source: Panama to Cuban migrants: go home and get multiple entry visas |
Miami Herald - Continue reading
… ” to help the undocumented migrants. Cuban migrants stranded in Panama talk … arrested by the immigration authorities. Cuban migrants stranded in Panama speak … because everything is illegal in Cuba,” said another of the migrants … United States, Panama airlifted some Cuban migrants to the United States … Continue reading
Trump And Cuba, Or How To Bet On The Wrong Winner

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
or reversed.

The magnate will make the announcement into a spectacle like so many he
has starred in since he has been at the head of the greatest power on
earth. He will gesticulate, commit himself to human rights and elicit
enthusiastic applause, but then he will return to the White House and
the Island will fall off his agenda.

Why entrust the fate of this country to a man who has failed to keep a
single one of the election promises he made to his own people? Is the
policy toward Cuba the only thing that will turn out well from someone
who has behaved like a political bull in a china shop?

Trump will try to please the voices asking him to tighten the screws on
Havana. Sanctions, cutting back and revoking the measures taken during
the thaw are among the demands of those who bet on confrontation, a
strategy that has had half a century to demonstrate its ineffectiveness.

The president will especially address himself to those who insist on
"turning off the tap," cutting off communication and shutting down
supplies to the longest dictatorship in the West, as if such measures
will cut off the electricity, water supply or internet access to the
homes of the Community Party elite.

It is symptomatic that demands for economic strangulation rarely spring
from those who wait long hours for a bus, depend daily on the bread that
is distributed in the rationed market and have to stretch a monthly
salary that is barely enough to survive on for a week.

On the other hand, blaming Obama's "soft hand" for the wreck of
normalization leads one to forget that those in charge in Cuba did not
seize the opportunity for fear of losing control. They were more
frightened by Obama's speech at the Gran Teatro de La Habana than by any
threat of military intervention.

Those who have aspired for decades to unconditional surrender, to
revengeful justice, and to "all or nothing" with Castroism, did not lose
any time in putting roadblocks in the way of the process started on 17
December 2014. Starting this Friday they will be forced to accept
everything that happens after Trump's decisions, or to recognize this is
not the way to emerge from a dictatorship.

The figures for arbitrary arrests compiled by the Cuban Human Rights
Commission are unlikely to decline significantly, the Ladies in White
will still be unable to march down Fifth Avenue in the west of Havana,
and opposition groups will remain illegal and persecuted by the police.

What will be the foreseeable consequences on the Island of a return to
the politics of the cudgel? An increase in repression and a better
positioning of the more conservative sectors. The Plaza of the
Revolution, the tyranny of the Castros, the regime… or whatever you
prefer to call it, will not be alone in facing the tightening of the
screws from Washington.

Russia, China, Angola, Nicolas Maduro and comrades from North Korea,
Congo, Zimbabwe and Iran will rush to take sides with Raul Castro.
Meanwhile, in the streets of the Island the population will mark Trump's
measures with renewed "marches of the fighting people," shouting
anti-imperialist slogans and accepting the postponement of the old
promises of the Revolution.

Faced with "the new onslaught from the empire" the government will
reinforce its aptitude for entrenchment. In the upper echelons of power
there will be no cracks or disagreements. Persecutors will strengthen
their power and enjoy the impunity to crush any resistance.

Trump will not achieve, with his new measures, a new march by university
students with a "Down with the Dictatorship" poster, nor will the unions
call for a general strike against the government, nor will the farmers
march to the cities demanding land.

It is not even clear whether the president will serve out four years in
office, cornered as he is by political scandals, alleged Kremlin
intervention in the elections that brought him to power and his
unfortunate way of managing politics through incendiary treatises or

His decisions will not provoke another Maleconazo on the island like the
one of August of 1994. That popular protest was spurred by the desire to
escape the country, not change it. Those dramatic events were not
sparked by the opposition, nor did they generate political changes, just
the Rafter Crisis.

Such an outbreak would be a nightmare for a leader with a marked
nationalism and an evident anti-immigrant phobia.

This Friday the American president will have his moment in front of the
Cuban exile. The applause for him will be short-lived. The placebo
effect of his announcements will dissipate to give way to the stubborn
reality that no decision of a foreign government will change Cuba,
regardless of whether Barack Obama or Donald Trump is at the head of it.

Source: Trump And Cuba, Or How To Bet On The Wrong Winner – Translating
Cuba - Continue reading
… in Havana on Saturday. President Donald Trump’s new policy on CubaHavana and letting U.S. cruises and airlines continue service to Cuba … literal onstage embrace of Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents has unmasked the United States' true intentions toward CubaContinue reading
HAVANA — President Donald Trump’s announcement of a tougher line toward CubaHavana and letting U.S. cruise and airlines continue service to Cuba … literal onstage embrace of Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents has unmasked the United States’ true intentions toward CubaContinue reading
HAVANA (CBSMiami/AP) — President Donald Trump’s tougher stance toward CubaHavana and letting U.S. cruise and airlines continue service to Cuba … literal onstage embrace of Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents has unmasked the United States’ true intentions toward CubaContinue reading
Havana, June 16 (RHC)--The Cuban government has rejected what it … in a civilized way,” the Cuban communique stresses. In what some … administration's policies towards Cuba, Donald Trump has clamped down … between the United States and Cuba but left untouched other measures … Continue reading
… United States' policy toward Cuba after the Obama administration decided … policy of his government towards Cuba which reverts the progress achieved … of the U.S. toward Cuba by limiting the amount of … that might go toward the Cuban military, restricting American tourism there … Continue reading
HAVANA (AP) -- President Donald Trump… Havana and letting U.S. cruise and airlines continue service to Cuba … literal onstage embrace of Cuban-American exiles and Cuban dissidents has unmasked the United States' true intentions toward CubaContinue reading
Trump's Cuba policy tries to redefine 'good' U.S. tourism. That includes
putting them back on tour buses.
By Nick Miroff June 17 at 2:43 PM

The American traveler in Cuba — sweating, disoriented and probably a bit
woozy from the rum drinks — is once more at the heart of the struggle
for the island's future.

Central to President Trump's plans to peel back his predecessor's
detente with Cuba is the idea that there is "good" and "bad" U.S.
travel. The United States, Trump believes, can tightly regulate American
vacations to deprive the Castro government of dollars and redirect the
money to the island's growing class of entrepreneurs.

But it will be difficult to pick winners in Cuba's state-controlled
economy, where government businesses and the private sector are
thoroughly intertwined. And even harder will be determining what sort of
travel constitutes the kind of "people-to-people" interactions the Trump
administration says it wants to preserve.

By reinstating restrictions on independent travelers, the Trump
administration's new policy will hurt Cuba's emerging private sector
that caters to American visitors, critics insist.

Instead, the new rules will herd Americans back toward the kind of
prepackaged, predictable group tourism that the Cuban government
actually prefers — and earns more revenue from.

"I think if you come here on a package tour, you see what the Cuban
government wants you to see," said Andrew Sleyko, 36, a food scientist
from Chicago who was visiting the island for the first time as Trump
announced his new policy.

Sleyko and a friend had booked rooms through Airbnb and were spending
their days walking around the city in the muggy heat.

"We're talking to people wherever we go," he said. "Isn't that the idea
of people-to-people?"

The Trump plan, announced Friday in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood,
asserts that the Obama-era rules facilitated what the White House called
"illegal" tourism by allowing U.S. travelers to rent rooms in Cuban
homes through sites such as Airbnb.

Americans will generally still be allowed to visit Cuba if they come on
cruise ships, for instance, or book with U.S.- approved tour agencies
that ensure travel itineraries do not include too much unstructured time.

The complication for Trump's rules, however, is that large tour groups
are too big for smaller bed-and-breakfast rentals, and their
government-appointed guides tend to ply the well-trodden routes that
bypass the new galleries, restaurants and night spots opened by
enterprising Cubans and others after the openings spurred by Obama.

That, in turn, will cause a ripple effect.

"If independent American travel is cut off, you won't only hurt the
bed-and-breakfasts. It's also the construction crews, the private tour
guides, the taxi drivers, the restaurants and the artists selling
handicrafts," said Andrea Gallina, an Italian entrepreneur who last year
opened a high-end boutique hotel, Paseo 206, with his Cuban spouse.

The 1934 mansion has an Italian restaurant on the ground floor, and
Gallina estimates two-thirds of his guests are American, booking rooms
through Airbnb, Expedia and other U.S. sites.

"To be honest, Americans don't have time to go to the beach, because
they get absorbed into the city," he said. "Independent travelers have
more contact with real Cubans."

Gallina employs 22 Cuban workers. If his bookings decline because of a
travel crackdown, he said, he will likely turn to the European market
and "tighten our belts."

American travel to Cuba has been a political battleground since the
early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union left the island's
communist government starved for hard currency.

As its resort industry grew and more foreign visitors arrived, the
Castro government's enemies in Miami and in the halls of Congress fought
to restrict Americans from going — knowing their dollars could undermine
efforts to choke the Cuban economy.

Instead, Cuba's tourism industry grew on euros and Canadian dollars.

But that's beginning to change.

The government says it received more than 4 million tourists last year —
a record number — of which about 615,000 were U.S. visitors. That
includes 330,000 Cuban Americans visiting relatives on the island, but
many of the rest were Americans taking advantage of Obama's landmark
moves to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba.

Travel by non-Cuban Americans has been on pace to double this year,
according to the latest government data.

But Trump's rollback is expected to put a brake on that growth. U.S.
officials say the new restrictions have yet to be written and will not
take effect until then, and Americans who have already booked Cuba
travel won't have to cancel.

Limited economic reforms by Cuban leader Raúl Castro, 86, have allowed
Cuban entrepreneurs to buy and sell property and run small businesses,
but it was Obama's normalization measures that kicked the process into

In Old Havana's tourist quarter, entire city blocks of crumbling
century-old buildings are being renovated and turned into boutique
hostels and chic cafes.

The work is being almost entirely carried out by private sector
tradesman and contractors.

"I've never been this busy," said Roberto Claro, a dust-covered
construction foreman in Old Havana, whose crew was busy converting a
ruined, century-old building into a seafood restaurant. There were two
other buildings on the same block also getting an overhaul.

The new rules aim to ban or limit Americans from patronizing
military-linked businesses including Cuba's gargantuan GAESA
conglomerate, which is estimated to control more than half of the
island's tourist economy.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said
Friday it will provide Americans with a lists of prohibited hotels and
other businesses linked to the company so American travelers can steer

U.S. travelers will need to keep detailed records and receipts from
their Cuba trips in case of an audit by Treasury Department officials,
and that alone could be a deterrent if aggressively enforced.

"The real challenge is implementing will be this," said Chris Sabatini,
a lecturer at Columbia University's School of International and Public
Affairs and the director of the website Global Americans. "Monitoring
travelers, evaluating who is staying in military-owned hotels, tracking
license compliance — all that requires bureaucratic capacity and follow up."

Because Treasury's foreign assets division is the same office in charge
of enforcing sanctions against countries such as Iran and North Korea,
it has come under criticism for devoting resources to investigating the
vacation receipts of American travelers who visit Cuba. A bipartisan
Senate bill that would completely lift travel restrictions has 55

"You or I could travel to any country on the globe and there's not a
federal government prohibition from us doing so — the only restriction
is Cuba," Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) told CNN as Trump announced the new
measures. "We're not the Soviet Union. We don't have to have 'travel
papers' for the government to decide whether or not you can travel."

Treasury said it will issue new guidelines in the coming months.

Gallina and others in Havana said they have been flooded with calls and
emails from Americans in the past three days asking if they should
cancel their trips.

Source: Trump's Cuba policy tries to redefine 'good' U.S. tourism. That
includes putting them back on tour buses. - The Washington Post - Continue reading
… United States' policy toward Cuba after the Obama administration decided … the U.S. Embassy in Havana or placing restrictions on cigars … . and the Cuban people, and "empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty." The CubanContinue reading
Travel Industry Scrambles After New Cuba Restrictions

As President Trump outlined a stricter policy toward Cuba on Friday,
travel industry representatives scrambled to decode new prohibitions and
reassure clients that the island was not off limits.

Hotel owners, tour operators and online booking agencies — who have been
at the heart of much-expanded contact between the two countries over the
last few years, culminating in early 2016, when President Barack Obama
eased restrictions — took what they saw as confusing signals from the
White House as a sign that the policy would be refined over the coming

"It appears to me that they are making this up as they go," said Collin
Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, which has been organizing
trips to that country for several years.

Mr. Laverty said he fielded "endless" calls during the past two days
from travel operators and travelers trying to figure out how they would
be affected by the new policy. On Friday, he wrote in an email to
clients that the organization was "very confident" the policy "will not
impact the fall trips to Cuba."

Under the new regulations, individual Americans travelers will no longer
be able to visit the island on what are known as people-to-people trips,
a popular mode of travel introduced as part of Mr. Obama's historic
thaw. People-to-people trips will now be permitted only for groups and
must be organized by a licensed tour operator.

Americans will also be barred from transactions with companies run by
the Cuban military — a potentially significant restriction, given that
many of Cuba's branded hotels are managed by a military-owned conglomerate.

The Treasury Department went some way to clarify the new rules on
Friday, writing in a statement that the changes would not apply to
people who had already booked trips or to existing business deals with
the military.

But the new restrictions would put new properties like the Gran Hotel
Manzana, managed by Kempinski Hotels but owned by Gaviota, a Cuban
military-run company, off limits to American travelers. Travel
representatives said they would redirect American travelers to hotels
run by civilian tour organizations, including Gran Caribe and Cubanacan
— both of which own several properties in Havana.

Exactly how far those restrictions go, however, is unclear. Could a tour
organizer rent a bus from a military-run company? What about purchases
from a military-run retail store?

Prohibitions of that scope would make organizing group trips to Cuba
"impossible," said Michael Sykes, president of Cuba Cultural Travel.

Tour operators and Cuba experts predicted that the Cuban government
would find loopholes. John Caulfield, who was chief of the United States
diplomatic mission to Havana from 2011 to 2014, said the government
could move tourism assets into the control of civilian ministries.

"In an economy like Cuba's, they can rename things and change things
around," he said.

Still, even if the new rules were workable, travel representatives said,
tighter regulation would put off Americans from traveling to a country
still struggling with its tourism infrastructure.

"We were finally getting to a point where there was a sense of normalcy;
people felt it was legal to come to Cuba," Mr. Laverty said. "Now this
is pushing us back to a point where Americans don't know if it's legal.
That will dissuade a lot of Americans."

Two sectors that were left apparently unscathed by the new policy were
cruises and flights: Fees paid by cruise lines and airlines will be
exempt from restrictions on doing business with the military.

Marriott International, whose subsidiary Starwood runs the Four Points
by Sheraton hotel in the Havana suburb of Miramar, may also have escaped
the crackdown, which the Treasury Department said did not affect
existing business deals.

The Havana Sheraton announced on its website on Friday that it would
require each guest to complete an affidavit at check-in certifying
authorization to travel in Cuba. Marriott said in a statement on
Thursday that it was "still analyzing" the policy directive, and its
"full effect on our current and planned operations in Cuba."

The consensus is that those who will suffer most are smaller-scale
businesses that rely on individual travel — private bed-and-breakfasts,
cafes, restaurants, tour guides and taxis. And fewer individual
travelers would also affect commercial airlines, who last year began
operating dozens of daily flights to Cuba.

Cuba is Airbnb's fastest-growing market, with 22,000 rooms registered to
its booking site and 70,000 arrivals every month on the island,
according to figures published by the company. About 35 percent of
Airbnb's guests in Cuba are American; 12 percent of American travelers
to Cuba stay in an Airbnb-listed property.

The company said in a statement on Friday that it was "reviewing what
this policy could mean for this type of travel" but was pleased that it
would be able to continue to "support Airbnb hosts in Cuba."

But those hosts are likely to see a decline in demand, travel
representatives said.

"Much of the growth has been from people booking from Airbnb and private
casas," said Eddie Lubbers, president of Cuba Travel Network, using the
Spanish term for homes. "It's not just casas — it's restaurants, it's
private tour guides."

He added, "It's going to have an effect."

Source: Travel Industry Scrambles After New Cuba Restrictions - The New
York Times - 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
"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 - Continue reading
Farmers Blast Trump's Cuba Retreat as Bad for Trade
June 17, 2017 4:55 AM

U.S. farm groups criticized President Donald Trump's decision to retreat
from his predecessor's opening toward Cuba, saying it could derail huge
increases in farm exports that totaled $221 million last year.

A trade delegation from Minnesota, one of the largest U.S. agriculture
states, vowed to carry on with its planned visit to Cuba next week.

"We're going to continue to beat the drum and let them (the Trump
administration) know that trade is good for agriculture," said Kevin
Paap, a farmer in the delegation.

Trump signed a presidential directive Friday rolling back parts of
former President Barack Obama's opening to the Communist-ruled country
after a 2014 diplomatic breakthrough between the two former Cold War foes.

Farm groups saw the move as a step backward in what had been an
improving trade relationship between the two countries, which are 90
miles (145 kms) apart, even though agriculture is not directly targeted.

U.S. law exempts food from a decades-old embargo on U.S. trade with
Cuba, but cumbersome rules on how transactions were executed have made
deals difficult and costly.

Since Obama's detente, substantial headway has been made with shipments
of U.S. corn and soybeans to Cuba soaring 420 percent in 2016 from a
year earlier to 268,360 tons, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows.

Through the first four months of 2017, total shipments of U.S. grain and
soy were 142,860 ton, up from 49,090 tons during the same period of 2016.

While the quantities are dwarfed by total U.S. exports — nearly 56
million ton of corn alone last year — the added volumes were welcome as
farmers face a fourth year of languishing grain prices and crimped incomes.

"At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we ask our leaders in
Washington not to close doors on market opportunities for American
agriculture," Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers
Association, said in a statement.

The group sees an opportunity for $125 million more a year in trade to Cuba.

Trump's move could cut off near-term sales and stymie economic
development that would drive longer-term demand growth, said Tom
Sleight, president of the U.S. Grains Council, a grain trade development
organization, in a statement.

"Neither of those outcomes is favorable for the U.S. ag sector or the
Cuban people," he added.

Paap said the United States should be doing more to encourage exports.

"It's frustrating because we've made some advances and built those
relationships," he said.

Source: Farmers Blast Trump's Cuba Retreat as Bad for Trade - Continue reading