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Cuba rejects 'hostile rhetoric' of Trump

21 June 2017

During a speech in Little Havana, the epicenter of a Cuban exile community that enthusiastically supported him in last year's election, Trump said he was keeping a campaign promise to roll back the policy of engagement begun by President Barack Obama in 2014, which he added had empowered the communist government in Cuba and enriched the country's repressive military.

President Trump says his new policy will tighten rules on travel and on sending funds to Cuba.

Trump's address in Miami announced changes in the United States' policy toward Cuba after the Obama administration chose to normalize relations with the island nation following a decades-long freeze of diplomatic ties.

But Florida Senator Marco Rubio, applauding the changes, tweeted: "If Cuban people are hurt it will be because the Castro government doesn't allow them to own their own business, not because of the new policy".

However, Trump has threatened to undo any deal Washington made with Havana if Cuba fails to take steps to improve the lives of the Cuban people.

But, facing pressure from US businesses and even some fellow Republicans to avoid turning back the clock completely in relations with Cuba, the president chose to leave intact some of his Democratic predecessor's steps toward normalization. In his view, it prevents USA companies from conducting business with companies controlled by the Cuban military.

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Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Trump's policy moves the USA backward.

Trump's vow to keep the broader decades-old US economic embargo on Cuba firmly in place drew criticism from some USA farmers, especially growers of corn, soybeans and rice.

Mexico " s media outlets are addressing today Cuba " s response to the announcement by US President Donald Trump of going back in relations with the island.

While tourism to Cuba is banned by US law, the Obama administration had been allowing people to travel to Cuba as part of "people to people" educational trips for visitors, a popular classification that a White House official said was "ripe for abuse" by those looking for beach vacations.

Despite the president's claim, the Obama policy will be revised rather than overturned entirely. He has already pulled the United States out of a major global climate treaty and is trying to scrap his predecessor's landmark healthcare programme.

To this day, Cuba is ruled by the same people who killed tens of thousands of their own citizens, who sought to spread their repressive and failed ideology throughout our hemisphere and who once tried to host enemy nuclear weapons 90 miles from our shores, Trump said. A former Cuban soldier who arrived in the boat in 1959, he said that that Trump measures were the right ones to take.

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"Today is a major setback for worldwide relations, NAFSA, our allies and the Cuban and American people".

"We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer", Trump said.

"We will assume any risk and remain firm and secure in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation", Castro said in a statement.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the policy before Trump announces it, despite the president's regular criticism of the use of anonymous sources. However, in a shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.

The full scope of the new policy remains to be seen, as the Treasury and Commerce Departments will release precise regulations within 30 days.

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