Understanding the New US Policy on Cuba

June 18, 2017 | Print Print |

Ten basis points of the strategy in progress

By Café Fuerte

US President Donald Trump signs the executive order in Miami on Friday to reverse some aspects of the current agreement for a policy toward Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES —The executive order signed by President Donald Trump this Friday in Miami to change US policy towards Cuba contains, in essence, new restrictions on travel and commercial activities, but does not affect family visits or remittances from the Cuban-American community.

These are part of the directives emanating from the presidential decree of Friday June 16, which aborts the agreement signed by Obama to consolidate his legacy on the island, last October 14, although in practice there are many clauses in the policy set before Trump’s arrival at the White House that remain standing:

  1. US citizens will not be able to plan their own private trips to Cuba and their incorporation into educational excursions will be subject to strict rules and possible audits by the Treasury Department. Travel will continue to be allowed in all 12 authorized categories, but will be subject to greater controls and supervision. People-to-people contact and educational trips will have to be organized in groups through a licensed tourism company and the itinerary records and activities carried out in Cuba will be preserved for five years in case they are required by the authorities.
  2. US businesses and citizens will be excluded from doing business with any company controlled by the Cuban Armed Forces (FAR) or its intelligence or security services.
  3. The links of US citizens and companies with state entities without links to the military sector, and with private restaurants and rental houses will remain permitted.
  4. The embassies in Washington and Havana will remain open and fully operational.
  5. The cruises and direct flights between the United States and Cuba will be protected under an exemption of the prohibition of transactions with entities controlled by the military.
  6. The ability of Cuban-Americans and Cubans residing in the United States to travel unrestrictedly to the island and send remittances to family members remains intact.
  7. The Treasury and Commerce departments will have 30 days to issue new travel and commercial regulations.
  8. The United States will oppose actions and resolutions at the United Nations and other international forums to support Cuba and call for an end to the embargo.
  9. The migration agreements established on 12 January, which repealed the “dry feet / wet feet” regulations and the special visa program for Cuban doctors working in third countries and who abandon their jobs, remain in force.
  10. Policy changes will not take effect until the Treasury and Commerce departments have completed a complete review of the new policy in a process that may take up to 90 days.

What's your opinion?

  • Lance Garrison

    What do the Cuban people think about this?

    • Moses Patterson

      What do the Cuban people think about anything? The Castros have made sure that answer is obscured.

      • Sky

        how very patronising to Cuban people. And inaccurate. Plenty of Cubans are happy to tell me exactly what they think. If you want to know, Go ask them. Don’t speak for them.

        Ps you can even Read opinion pieces in Havana Times!

        • Moses Patterson

          I was referring to their lack of freedom of speech and their want for free and independent elections. It is quite accurate to point out that Cubans lack both. Doing so is far from being patronizing.

          • curt9954

            Some people are happy with the right to be fed, clothed, and housing as human rights.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            But without the human right of freedom of expression.

          • Moses Patterson

            If given the right to speak freely, legally organize political parties and maintain an independent media, the rights that you speak of will guaranteed.

        • Olgasintamales

          Well I tell you what I think. The Cuban government is a horrible dictatorship. I have to scape with my two children not for economic reason but the lack of freedom and the government tell me whet a can read,see,and say. By the way born and raised in Havana until I was 31 years old.

      • CErmle

        You are really out of touch, my friend. The Cuban People let everybody know what they think, like it or not. Things there are not anything like ;you want us to believe.

        • Moses Patterson

          Really? So what do they really think about free and independent elections?

    • Nick

      Hi Lance,
      From my experiences in Cuba over the past couple of decades I can assure you that, contrary to that suggested by Mr Patterson, Cubans most definitely like to express their viewpoints regarding US Presidents and policies.
      I can tell you for a fact that George W Bush was pretty much roundly disliked (to put it mildly) in Cuba. He was generally regarded as a war-monger. Whereas President Obama was widely regarded as forward looking and rational.
      I haven’t been to Cuba since the onset of the trump presidency.
      From what I hear from dear friends in Cuba, he is disliked. I think the whole idea of him being President of The USA is seen as a bit weird in Cuba (as it is in the rest of the world).
      Cubans generally have a dark and very ironic sense of humour and a typical remark regarding US Presidents is that they come and they go.
      And that they come and go with much greater frequency than Cuban Presidents!
      In my experience all Cubans generally wish their country to have normal, mutually respectful relations with the USA (as Cuba has with the rest of the world).

      I can assure you that this policy shift will be highly unpopular in Cuba.
      I would be surprised if even the contributors who normally express different viewpoints to mine, would seriously disagree with me on this point.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        I totally agree with you Nick that Cubans “most definitely like to express their viewpoints regarding american Presidents and policies” based upon the limited information that they receive.
        Unfortunately they are unable to express their viewpoints regarding their own President and policies.

        • Moses Patterson

          You make my point perfectly!

        • Nick

          The majority of Cubans I have met have expressed their views on their Presidents and their policies.
          It’s most weird and totally incorrect to suggest otherwise.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Obviously Nick in pursuit of people with whom you agree, you mix with members of the Communist Party of Cuba – but remember they are a minority. I mix with average Cubans hence the reason why our impressions differ.

          • Nick

            A bit too much back and forth here.
            But just to let you know that I have many Cuban friends, very few of whom are PCC members. As I have said here before, I have friends and have met people in Cuba who are against the current system, who are ok with the current system, who are not remotely interested in politics and those who are a mixture or somewhere in between.
            It would appear that it is very much you who has a fixation on a specific set of views. Certainly not me. I’ve got an open mind.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            As usual, you flatter yourself!

  • Vahe Demirjian

    The kind of action taken by Trump compartmentalizes trade and travel policies toward Cuba with the need to be considerate of the well-being of democracy activists. If Raul Castro dies and his successor retains the Cuban Communist Party’s hold on power, Cuba may become a rallying point for Democrats in next year’s mid-terms to paint Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo as hopelessly weeded to a failed set of trade sanctions that Obama knew was time for abolition because Fidel Castro’s departure from power failed to end Cuban communism.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Trumpeted: “ALL CHANGE” in reality “NO CHANGE”.
    Trump(f) apparently considers that Americans cannot be let loose singly, but have to be in commercial tourism groups. Maybe one day in the distant future, US citizens will be allowed to behave like grown-ups and take their own decisions?

  • Gerard Matthews

    Point 2 covers it for me! Practically everything in Cuba is controlled by the military(Government)!

    • Sky

      Apparently some 80% is. I’m surprised they are overlooking the fact that non military run businesses i.e. The other 20% pay not insignificant taxes to the state…

  • Nick

    So once again the freedom of US citizens to travel where they choose is being restricted?
    And here’s me thinking the trump campaign promised to cut regulation, roll back the state and reduce government interference in people’s lives in The Land of The Free??

  • N.J. Marti

    The distinction between the military and other Gov organizations is a nuance the Cuban government won’t miss. It can adjust. The individual travel restriction for people to people will favor cruises. There will be an impact, but Cuba will hardly be as closed as it was under Bush.

    It is important to recognize just how much of the Obama and Raul historic changes are being retained. This is the last gasp of the Miami hardliners. The business interest and military advisers wanted Cuba to stay open. This was the most they could get.

  • bjmack

    I will never travel to any country where I’m given certain conditions to freely move about. A terrible decision and I loathe the administration for swimming in the same swamp they wanted to drain. Is it less restrictive for a Cuban to visit the US vs. me traveling to Cuba? Sad, and not much intelligence heading the country I’m a citizen of.

  • Gilbert Fernandez

    Trump’s decision further strengthens the island view of US aggression. Lift it all and now the results would be squarley on the Cuban government. Bad decision to continue supporting a small minority full of personal hate.

    • Moses Patterson

      The Castros are not without blood on their hands in this conflict. I’m not only referring to their Cold War antics of espionage and guerrilla wars. I’m also referring to their recent weapons sales to North Korea. Their involvement in drug sales from Venezuela and their flirtation anew with Russian espionage.

      • Nick

        It would seem that your comments are getting ever more comical.
        ‘Their involvement in drug sales from Venezuela’ ?
        Let’s see one single bit of evidence for that then Mr P??
        But that’s not the funny part………..
        You, whose own President is arguably only in power due to Russian infiltration, actually accuse Cuba of ‘flirtation with Russian espionage’ ???
        Hilarious.
        That is just so brilliantly hilarious.
        I had a bad day. But thanks Mr P. You made me laugh big time and now it doesn’t seem like such a bad day after all!!

        • Rich Haney

          Nick, counter-revolutionaries for a half-century assume they can say anything about Cuba and everyone is supposed to believe every word. Yes, it’s funny but in a democracy it is also both worrisome..

          • Nick

            Indeed you have a point Rich.
            These days it gets called ‘fake news’ and some see it as a modern phenomenon. More traditionally its always been known as ‘bulls**t’ and it’s not a new phenomenon at all.
            Perhaps it is indeed becoming more prevalent in what we like to think of as the more ‘democratic’ parts of the world.
            There are all a multitude of web-sites specifically set up to fulfil their democratic right to knowingly spread worrisome and dangerous bulls**t.
            Indeed I believe there is a very well known ultra-right site with direct links to the current incumbents of The White House is there not?
            Yes, it can be a bit scary.

            But Mr P’s comment on Cuba and ‘Russian espionage’ ?
            Sorry but I just can’t help myself. I can’t even describe it as hypocrisy because that would be taking it seriously, when its actually just so side-splittingly funny…. …….like something you’d hear on The Simpsons or South Park !!!

        • Moses Patterson

          I did not vote for Trump, but even I have to admit it took more than Russian interference for Trump to win. Hilary was a very weak candidate
          On the other point, the evidence is widely known that Venezuela learned the drug trade from their Cuban puppetmasters.

          • Nick

            So no evidence then Mr P? No reference to any source??
            Nothing at all.
            Just a fantasy world full of dodgy, commie drug dealers. Just like them good ‘ol decent folks warned you about when you were a kiddie huh?

          • Moses Patterson
          • Nick

            That’s pretty funny. That’s a joke yeah?
            It’s not where you actually get your ‘facts’ from is it?
            No of course its not.
            It’s definitely a joke.
            Its funny Mr P. I’m not suggesting that it ain’t funny.
            But it does leave us with what I originally said:
            So no evidence then Mr P? No reference to any source??

          • Moses Patterson

            Are you unable to read. I gave you a source. Refute it’s veracity if you can.

  • John Q Smith

    But of course………. pass the Grey Poupon…….