Cuba Blasts Trump's Policy Speech as 'Hostile Rhetoric'

Among the few Cubans on the island who praised Trump was Berta Soler, a leader of the dissident group Ladies in White who said she was prevented by the government from flying to Miami to attend the speech in person. However, the government also made it clear that it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" and cooperation with Washington on issues of mutual interest. Trump's approach is aimed at halting the flow of USA cash to the country's military while maintaining diplomatic relations. But Trump vowed that trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites is met. From Obamacare to climate policy to Cuba, he seems intent on overturning whatever Obama did - no matter how great the cost to the American people.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that reversed several parts of policies enacted by former President Barack Obama. In his view, it prevents US companies from conducting business with companies controlled by the Cuban military.

The new policy will ban most USA business transactions with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a sprawling conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, but make some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, the officials said.

Back in Washington, Trump's critics warned that his clampdown on dealings with Cuban military-run tour firms and on private United States travel to the communist-run island would only impoverish ordinary Cubans and threaten diplomatic rapprochement.

Those restrictions could be far-reaching, Sabatini says, as the Cuban military controls two-thirds of the island's economy, including "a large chunk of hospitality, the big mega-hotels and many state-run restaurants".

But Trump left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened USA embassy in Havana, even as he sought to show he was making good on a campaign promise to take a tougher line against Cuba, especially over its human rights record. Still, the president's moves are not created to massively disrupt existing commercial ties that have grown between the USA and Cuba since the Obama administration moved to restore diplomatic ties in late 2014.

"It is inexcusable that the Cuban government could be holding anywhere from 75 to 95 political prisoners", said Jason Marczak, of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council.

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"He never talked with us", he said. "Freeing Americans to travel and conduct education and business interactions with any nation as freely as we are permitted to do so with every other country in the world should not be a privilege for a few-it is a basic human right because after all, travel is inherently educational".

"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban entrepreneurs". In a statement to TravelPulse, Intrepid Travel said the policy proposal means stricter government audits to ensure travelers are legitimately qualifying under the 12 approved categories introduced under Obama.

Later that night, Cuban state news was also talking tough.

Steven Zelkowitz, the managing shareholder and co-chair at the hospitality industry group at GrayRobinson law firm, thinks hotel development in Cuba will decrease because of Trump's policy.

Aug 2016: U.S. commercial flight arrives in Cuba for the first time in more than half a century. Trump painted his moves as a fulfillment of his campaign promise to reverse the thaw begun under the Obama administration, saying Cuba had failed to make progress improving human rights.

"It would be more effective to continue an open line of communication and working relationship with a government in need of democratic assistance, instead of shutting them out", Boozman said. Cuban Americans will still be able visit and send remittances to their families.

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