Donald Trump announces new restrictions on Cuba travel, business

Cuba’s government has criticised Donald Trump’s “hostile rhetoric” in announcing new restrictions on U.S. ties to the island nation, but reiterated Havana’s willingness to hold “respectful dialogue” with Washington.The President also directed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to convene a task force on expanding internet access on the island and reiterate the USs’ opposition to efforts in the UNs to lift the Cuban embargo until more is done to honour human rights, reports CNN.Trump vowed Friday to overhaul his predecessor Barack Obama’s deal to restore ties with Cuba, promising instead to support the Cuban people against Raul Castro’s government.Under the revised travel policy, USA officials say there will be tighter enforcement to make sure Americans legally fit the 12 authorized categories they claim to be traveling under, which could spook many visitors, wary of receiving a hefty fine.”I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba“.However, in practice many recent changes to boost ties to Cuba are to stay as they are.The lengthy statement went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the U.S. on a variety of subjects.Despite Trump’s campaign pledge to improve relations with Moscow, there has been no significant improvement in foreign policy cooperation between the two countries. U.S. airlines and cruise ships will still be allowed to serve the island.Also not expected are any changes to USA regulations governing what items Americans can bring back from Cuba, including the rum and cigars produced by state-run enterprises.”The Cuban government denounces the new measures hardening the blockade that are destined to fail. and that will not achieve their aim of weakening the revolution”, Havana said.Trump said his policy is created to isolate the Cuban Castro regime.But he won roars of approval and cries of “Viva Cuba libre!” from the invited crowd of Cuban-Americans and Cuban exiles. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited.Other members of the luncheon meeting, held in a Miami suburb, expressed disappointment that they were not consulted by US lawmakers from Florida who helped shape the policy, including Sen. I would urge the Administration and Congress to focus on constructive policy with Cuba that would benefit Americans, especially Arkansas-based agriculture, by lifting the credit restrictions on agriculture.”Obama did the right thing”, said 77-year-old Manuel Gonzales, who left the island in 2006. “When Cubans take concrete steps, we will be ready, prepared and able to return to the table to negotiate that agreement, which will be much better”, he said. “All the (U.S. economic) embargo has brought upon Cuba is misery”.”I do believe that end is in the very near future”, he said. -Cuban diplomatic, social and commercial ties, with the USA opening an embassy in Cuba, increasing flights to Cuba, and some US businesses expanding into the island nation for the first time in five decades.Weissenstein reported from Havana and Lederman from Washington.