Tougher Trump line toward Cuba delights hardliners on island

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Has Trump really'cancelled Cuba deal

However, Trump has threatened to undo any deal Washington made with Havana if Cuba fails to take steps to improve the lives of the Cuban people. Yet island officials say they remain willing to continue "respectful dialogue" on topics of mutual interest.

In a speech given Friday in Miami, Trump announced a harsher U.S. policy towards the island, even though he won't void all of his predecessor Barack Obama's decisions.

Jill Welch, NAFSA (Assn. for International Education) deputy executive director for Public Policy, criticized the move, "Regressing to past travel and trade restrictions with Cuba will only pull America back into a 50-year-old failed policy of isolation with the island nation and restrict our ability to learn from one another".

He isn't though, reversing key diplomatic and commercial ties.

"The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo" imposed since 1962, according to the statement.

"It's hard to think of a policy that makes less sense than the prior administration's awful and misguided deal with the Castro regime", Trump said in Miami.

Otto Rodriguez Villamonte, who arrived from Cuba in 1960, said he hadn't read the details of the new plan or listened to Trump's announcement but that he thought not much was changing.

A group of 55 Cuban businesspeople sent a letter this week to Trump's daughter and adviser, Ivanka, warning against the policy changes. We will enforce the ban on tourism.

Many government officials and their supporters saw the Obama policy as an attempt to lull Cuba into complacency and undermine the foundations of a communist system based in part of near-total control of virtually every aspect of society, from animal-rights groups to the film industry.

Under the new regulations, Americans will no longer be able to take private trips to the island, and USA companies and citizens will be barred from doing business with entities controlled by Cuban government agencies, including its military and security services.


Cheered by Cuba hardliners in both parties, Trump's new policy is broadly opposed by USA businesses eager to invest in Cuba.

"I am totally sure that this is much better that what Obama did", said Lopez, who arrived in the U.S.in 1960.

Worldwide human rights groups say, however, that reinstating a USA policy of isolating the island could make the situation worse by empowering Cuban hardliners.

But ordinary Cubans said they were crestfallen to be returning to an era of frostier relations with the United States with potential economic fallout for them.

Castro also said that "the USA is not in a position to give us lessons".

"President Trump promised that he would repeal everything Obama had done with Cuba", said Valladares, who was appointed ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

"This is another blow for Cubans and it will hurt our pockets obviously", said Martha Garcia, 51.

"I do believe that end is in the very near future", he said.

The policy also allows Americans to continue patronizing state-run hotels and other businesses that are not directly linked with Cuba's military and state-security services.

Trump, however, stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations restored in 2015 after more than five decades of hostilities. The US president has been accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, several cabinet members, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, congressmen of Cuban origin like Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz Balart and Carlos Curbelo and representatives of Cuban dissidents, Trump mentioned the Dissidents Jose Daniel Ferrer and Berta Soler, who were not allowed to travel to Miami, but "are here with us".

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