Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

The Cuban government rebuked those statements in a lengthy response Friday, writing that Trump's executive order betrays a double standard on human rights.

In one form or another, the embargo on Cuba has been in place since the Eisenhower administration.

"Last year, I promised to be. a voice for the freedom of the Cuban people", he said in Friday's speech.

In opposition to his stance on refugees fleeing persecution from the Middle East, Trump said, "America will always stand for liberty and America will always pray and cheer for the Cuban people".

By restricting individual to Cuba, the new policy also risks cutting off a major source of income for Cuba's private business sector, which the policy is meant to support.

For Cuba, there have been tangible benefits in tourism and telecommunications.

In December 2014, former U.S. president Barack Obama announced that the United States would normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities.

The main changes are a ban on USA companies.

While Obama did not end the embargo on Cuba, since only Congress has that power, the US and Cuba reopened embassies in each other's capitals for the first time since 1961.

"There will be little impact on the United States economy", said Michael Shifter, a specialist at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based research group. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which once let most Cuban migrants stay if they made it to USA soil but was terminated under Obama, will remain terminated. Previously, Cubans who reached USA shores earned automatic visas. He added others could follow suit.

The direct comments, and the stark difference to Trump's silence on other countries, show the President's selective approach to human rights, one that punishes some nations for their abuses while largely ignoring others', at least in public.

MI farmers are among those criticizing President Trump's plan to impose new business and travel restrictions on Cuba. However, individual travel to Cuba will be stopped by the new rules.

Despite the hype, the travel industry will continue its expansion into Cuba, though the journey may be tougher for some.

A landmark agreement to normalise relations between the former Cold War foes was made between former US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro in 2014.

"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban entrepreneurs", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a restaurant in Havana.

But then Tillerson qualified his statement.

"I do believe that end is in the very near future", he said. This will essentially shield US airlines and cruise-ship companies now serving the island.

It appears that Rubio and Diaz-Balart will win out, though there's no shortage of actors lobbying the White House the other way.

During his appearances with King Salman in Riyadh last month, Trump avoided any explicit mention of the country's restrictions on political dissent or its treatment of women. Airbnb, Google and other notable businesses have also spoken out recently in support of maintaining current policies.

Leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also urged the administration to keep Cuba open.

But individual "people-to-people" trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited.

What did Candidate Trump say?

Pressing "pause" on a historic detente, US President Donald Trump thrust the US and Cuba back on a path toward open hostility on Friday with a blistering denunciation of the island's communist government.

"This is the simple truth of the Castro regime".

He brought several Cuban dissidents and former political prisoners onto the stage, drawing loud applause from the crowd in Miami's Little Havana neighbourhood. By rescinding certain Obama-era Cuba policies, he went against the advice of Democrats, Republicans, and business interests.

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