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White House Confirms Trump's Speech on Cuba in Miami on Friday

18 June 2017

In a Thursday briefing call, reporters pressed officials on why the Trump administration is emphasizing Cuba's human rights issues when the White House has previously demonstrated interest in working with other problematic regimes.

More details about the changes are expected to be released Friday, when the new policy is set to take effect. "Our view is we are", Tillerson said. In practice, however, many recent changes to boost ties to Cuba will stay as they are. The theater is named for an exile leader of the Bay of Pigs veterans' association that endorsed Trump last October.

White House officials described the policy changes as in keeping with Trump's promise to restore USA restrictions on Cuba unless it provides political and religious freedom for its people, though the expected changes are limited in scope and do not reflect a full reversal of Obama-era policies toward increased engagement and restored diplomatic relations.

During his presidential campaign, Trump said that Obama's decision to ease trade and travel restrictions had amounted to playing right into the hands of a regime that had made no concessions in return.

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While Americans have always been required to be able to "authenticate" the goal of any visit to Cuba, and to keep receipts and records for five years, the rules were rarely enforced.

White House officials say there will be some exceptions.

However, the biggest change has been in the flow of US tourists to the island, so in terms of meeting expectations, the restoration of ties fell short, added Torrico.

USA visitors also will be prohibited from staying in any hotels doing business with the Cuban military, including the Four Points Sheraton, which Starwood took over from the military in a deal the Obama administration approved. "But whatever reduction we do see in travel is direct proof of how much the military is benefiting from the current policy".

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If travel to Cuba is reduced, "You'd have a lot of people whose income would fall dramatically", she said. Additionally, travel and money sent by Cuban Americans could continue unaffected. The policy will maintain diplomatic relations and allow USA airlines and cruise ships to continue servicing the island. These visitors will be allowed to pay bank fees at the military-run bank and rent private properties such as those offered by Airbnb.

"The airlines might complain that they will see less demand for travel because travelers can no longer spend money at the military-run properties". "I'm trying to reverse the dynamic: I'm trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes". Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a key player in forging the new policy, was expected to attend along with other Cuban-American lawmakers.

The president will likely be rolling back portions of the Obama-era policies that softened relations with Cuba. For US-based companies such as Marriott-owned Starwood Hotels, Trump's policy could be the cancellation of the license to operate in Cuba.

Rubio was very vocal about Obama normalizing relations with Cuba and went as far as to block the President's pick for ambassadors who were part of that agenda. "Access to foreign markets unleashes domestic productivity and gives workers a greater range of employment opportunities".

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