WASHINGTON DC, USA – President Donald Trump will Friday announce a clampdown on US business with Cuba and tighter rules on travel to the island, in a move to roll back his predecessor Barack Obama’s historic outreach to Havana.
Trump headed early Friday to Miami’s Little Havana, spiritual home of the Cuban-American exile community, to unveil the policy shift in an address at the Manuel Artime Theater — named after an anti-communist veteran of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.
US officials told reporters that he will prohibit financial transactions with Cuba’s military-backed tourism conglomerate GAESA, a body which might otherwise have hoped for a windfall from a new surge in American visitors.
“The basic policy driver is concern that the previous policy was enriching the military and the intelligence services that contribute so much to oppression on the island,” a senior administration official said.
“That’s the opposite of what he wanted to achieve,” he added, arguing that Trump’s move is not a step back to the Cold War-era embargo that Obama started to dismantle, but a recognition that Raul Castro’s one-party regime has a long way to go to meet its promises of reform.
“The hope of the administration is that the Cuban regime will see this as an opportunity for them to implement the reforms that they paid lip service to a couple of years ago but that have not in any way been implemented to the benefit of the Cuban people,” he said.
Run by Castro’s son-in-law Luis Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, GAESA is involved in joint ventures with several foreign firms that have driven a tourism boom on the island, including the Marriott hotel chain.