Cuba rejects new USA policy, saying pressure will not work

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document after announcing his Cuba policy at the Manuel Artime Theater in the Little Havana neighborhoo

While President Trump is not overturning all of President Obama's Cuba policy reforms - the US Embassy will remain open - he will roll back the liberalization of travel restrictions and make it very hard for American firms to do business in Cuba.

Yet new moves will burden the USA government with the complicated task of policing U.S.travel to Cuba to make sure there are no transactions with the military-linked conglomerate that runs much of the Cuban economy. Let's see how this statement squares with his new policy announcement.

As a part of the deal forged with Cuban President Raul Castro, Obama eased economic and trade restrictions that dated back to the US embargo on Cuba that began in the 1960s.

The statement came on the heels of Trump's Friday appearance in Miami where he slammed Cuba's human rights record and signed a national security presidential memo that makes some changes to the policy on Cuba of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The Cuban diplomat pointed out that war crimes and assassinations of civilians are commonplace in the US military aggressions and interventions, and described as brutal the prison sentences without a court's ruling and the mass and systematic cases of torture committed in the Guantanamo Naval Base. Although said Directive did not hide the interventionist character of the U.S. policy nor the fact that its main goal was to advance United States interests in order to bring about changes in the economic, political and social systems of our country, it did recognize Cuba's independence, sovereignty and self-determination and the Cuban government as a legitimate and equal interlocutor, as well as the benefits that a civilized coexistence would have for both countries and peoples despite the great differences that exist between both governments.

Yes, this is the same Donald Trump who declared as president-elect in December that his incoming administration would "pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past". The next Summit of the Americas, slated for 2018, could present President Trump with the opportunity to seek partners in pursuing his agenda in the region, but his shift in Cuban policy will likely hinder cooperation and earn him a far less positive reception than Obama received at the last Summit. While most Republicans cheered the change in policy - including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who engaged in a nasty fight with Mr Trump for the Republican nomination past year - many said that the changes were a brash political play to try and attract conservative Cuban voters in Florida.

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Upon confirming the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations, Cuba and the United States ratified their intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter.

"He said he wanted to "do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement" because 'these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked'". Grupo de Administracion Empresarial SA, known as GAESA, a state-run, military-affiliated conglomerate, owns nearly all of the retail chains in Cuba and 57 of the mainly foreign-run hotels on the island.

Polls showed that most Americans - even many Miami exiles - agreed that the USA embargo on Cuba was outdated. "For us to continue developing and expanding upcoming markets like Cuba, we need a progressive attitude from the White House on trade, not a knee-jerk reaction to what a previous administration has done", he added. Trump's aides said the aim was to close off a path for Americans seeking beach vacations in a country where USA tourism is still officially banned.

Carnival Corp. also said it was "pleased" the changes will allow its ships to continue to sail to Cuba. On one hand, banking transactions and fees would be exempted, which means American can still rent private properties through Airbnb, for instance.

If anything, a hardening of US policy on Cuba will prevent reforms and empower those who warned that the USA could not be trusted as an honest partner. On June 1, a coalition of business groups, economists and Cuba experts, known as Engage Cuba, released an economic impact analysis estimating that a reversal of Cuba policies would cost the US economy $6.6 billion and affect 12,295 American jobs over the course of the first term of the Trump administration. Cuba, with its modest resources, has also contributed to the improvement of the human rights situation in many countries of the world, despite the limitations inherent to its condition as a blockaded country.

Under Trump's order, the Treasury and Commerce departments will be given 30 days to begin writing new regulations, which will not take effect until they are complete. Experts say the devil will be in the details of the regulations to be drafted over coming months.

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