Cubans brace for worst as Trump takes aim at Obama opening

Cubans now face same deportation risk as other immigrants

Cuban-Americans are eager and anxious for President Donald Trump's announcement in Miami Friday of changes to the US policy toward Cuba, though it appears the changes will be more like a tweak of the Obama-era provisions.

Trump will announce the changes to the Obama-era policies that improved United States relations with Cuba in a speech in Miami, Florida, on Friday, POLITICO reported on Thursday.

The new Cuba policy will prohibit transactions with businesses controlled by the Cuban regime, will only allow Americans to travel to Cuba as a part of a tour group, and reiterate the importance of extraditing fugitives, according to senior administration officials who briefed members of the press Thursday. Yet Trump is politically indebted to conservative Cuban exiles in Miami who supported him in the past presidential election.

In his perverse fixation on overturning all things Barack Obama, President Donald Trump now turns his attention to Cuba, the island located 90 miles off our shore.

"The new policy centers on the belief that the oppressed Cuban people - rather than the oppressive Castro regime's military and its subsidiaries - should benefit from American engagement with the island", said a Trump administration statement obtained by USA TODAY.

Taking a tougher approach against Havana after promising to do so during the presidential campaign, Trump will outline stricter enforcement of an existing ban on Americans going to Cuba as tourists and will seek to prevent USA dollars from being used to fund what the new US administration sees as a repressive military-dominated government. By one account, he is likely to restrict USA tourism and to bar US companies from doing business with companies affiliated with the Cuban military.

A recent poll by U.S.travel agency Insight Cuba indicates that six out of 10 Americans plan to visit the island in the next two years, a figure that could increase USA visitors to nearly 2 million annually. The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans. Last week, seven GOP lawmakers wrote a letter to the president, warning that restrictions would "further incentivize Cuba to depend on countries like Russian Federation and China", Reuters news service reported. The number of Cuban-Americans traveling to Cuba has increased and the government has opened hundreds of public Wi-Fi spots since the warming, greatly expanding internet access.

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The changes won't end diplomatic relations with Cuba, re-establish the controversial "wet foot, dry foot" policy, or change the policy on how much rum, cigars and other popular products Americans can take from Cuba. I'll be in Miami with the president of the United States who's going to be announcing strategic, targeted changes in U.S. Policy toward Cuba. Though Trump will announce his new policy this Friday, nothing will change until the agencies implement those regulations. That means that any US traveler now booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, could go ahead and make the trip.

Advocates for a rollback of the Obama changes argue that Cuba remains a dictatorship with no regard for human rights. It spent subsequent decades trying to either overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening an economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Trump is planning to outline changes during a visit to Miami on Friday, where he'll appear at the Manuel Artime Theater. Rather, it is the smart use of USA economic power to continue to put pressure on the Castro regime for its continued human-rights abuses, even as Americans interact directly with the Cuban people. Marco Rubio, are supporting the President.

The son of a Cuban immigrant, Rubio opposed Obama's re-engagement with Cuba, saying Obama was making concessions to an "odious regime".

Leading human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) have denounced a potential rollback of current US policy.

With the new policy, Trump is expected to claim fulfillment of a campaign promise to the Cuban-American community to tighten the screws on the government of Cuban President Raul Castro.

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