Cuba Educational Policy Reversal Condemned

Toni Houston
June 21, 2017

Under the new policy, which is not a total shift from Obama's, airlines and cruise lines will still be able to travel to Cuba, though it will be more closely monitored. This is the type of travel that will be restricted or discouraged, mostly by inconveniencing American citizens at the border upon their return from the island.

"We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer", Mr. Trump said at the Manuel Artime Theater, named for a former supporter of Fidel Castro who became a leader of Brigade 2506, the land forces that spearheaded the United States-led Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. "Officially, today, they are rejected".

Only group trips will be permitted, and they must "must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are meant to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people's independence from Cuban authorities".

While the changes are far-reaching, they appear to be less sweeping than many advocates had feared.

In a statement read out on the evening news, the Communist government said Trump was resorting to "coercive methods of the past" that hurt the Cuban people and prevented economic development but would not weaken the revolution.

Whether or not US citizens will continue to visit the island under tighter restrictions will only be seen in the future.

But while Trump's policy backtracks on some of President Obama's efforts to engage with the island, key directives will remain in place.

Other categories of allowed travel to Cuba, such as for Cuban-Americans to visit family and educational exchanges, will still be allowed.

Moscow maintains close ties with Havana, and in March signed a deal to ship oil to Cuba for the first time in over a decade. And the US government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities". 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. In the weeks after his election victory, Trump forcefully hinted at his plans for Cuba.

Trump will not end an Obama-era policy that allows American visitors to bring back all the rum and cigars they can manage if they do make it down.

Russia's statement came after Trump said on Friday he was "cancelling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba" and putting new travel and trade restrictions in place. Last week, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to back new sanctions on Russian Federation. The policy changes won't take effect until those departments have finalized their new regulations, "a process that may take several months", the White House said.

Pointing to human rights abuses, Trump said, "My administration will not hide from it, excuse it, or glamorize it and we will never ever be blind to it". Only "heavily regulated" tour groups will be allowed to travel from the United States to Cuba, ABC News reported. When Obama made the agreement and restored relations with the Cuban government, he gave them everything they asked for.

In December 2014, Obama announced a historic deal to gradually rebuild the economic and diplomatic relationships between the two countries.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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