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Rep. Barbara Lee Slams President Trump’s Backwards Decision on Cuba

Cuba experts have said they expect tough anti-regime rhetoric from the president, but not a complete rollback of Obama policies that ended more than 50 years of USA attempts to isolate Cuba, ushering in sweeping changes that that allowed increased travel, business and communication links and restored diplomatic relations.Though most details of the policy are still unknown, officials say Trump will direct the Department of Treasury and Commerce to ban direct financial transactions with Cuba’s military and intelligence services.General diplomatic relations with Cuba would continue and embassies re-opened in Washington and Havana would remain. One official said the difference was that Trump had specifically promised to take action on Cuba to a rally of the Cuban diaspora previous year in Florida, a state which Trump won.Trump will announce his new approach early Friday afternoon at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami’s Little Havana, the heart of America’s largest Cuban-American community, whose support aides believe helped him win Florida in the election. Dissidents say government repression has increased.The new policy will ban most US business transactions with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a sprawling conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, but make some exceptions, including for air and sea travel, the officials said. Other Cuban-American lawmakers started getting briefed on the policy Thursday. Nor will Cuban-Americans’ ability to make unlimited family visits and remittances to Cuba be affected. The order would allow continued expenditure linked to operations at the Guantanamo Naval Base against the will of the Cuban people and Government, and would also keep the corresponding funds for the U.S. embassy in Havana. “I’m also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government”.So-called “people to people” trips, which enable American travelers to visit Cuba for educational purposes on their own as opposed to with a tour group, will be eliminated under the new USA policy.Much of Trump’s policy appears based on S.1489, a bill proposed by Sen.Rubio said the changes will be a step in the right direction.Trump also will not reinstate the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which allowed Cubans who reached US soil to stay. “This is bad policy, bad politics and bad for USA business”.And it will not limit travel by or remittances from Cuban Americans, as former President George W. Bush did – though fewer Cuban government officials will be allowed to come to the USA and receive money than under Obama. The 12 forms of authorized travel to Cuba include travel for professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; humanitarian projects; and activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes. The Obama administration relied on what was effectively an honor system in which travelers self-reported.