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Trump Readies New US Policy Toward Cuba

  • VOA News

FILE - A man watches President Donald Trump's inauguration speech on television as he sits next to photographs of Cuba's President Raul Castro, top right, former President Fidel Castro, top center, and revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos, in Havana, Jan. 20, 2017.

President Donald Trump is preparing to announce new policies toward Cuba that most likely will roll back parts of former President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island nation, according to a senior administration official and other sources.

The official said presidential aides were finalizing their review of U.S.-Cuba relations and were expected to send recommendations to Trump and his national security team in the coming days.

Plans are under way for Trump to announce the new Cuba policy on Friday in Miami. The city in southern Florida has a large and influential population of Cuban-Americans and Cuban emigres.

However, administration sources said the announcement could be delayed if Trump needs more time to make a final decision.

Trump is expected to announce a partial rollback of Obama's policies, which lifted many restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba and their conduct of business there.

The president is expected to leave diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana intact. Diplomatic ties were re-established under Obama more than two years ago, after more than five decades of hostility between the U.S. and the communist government that Fidel Castro led to power in Cuba after a bloody revolution.

Florida lawmakers

Although specific details of Trump's Cuba policy are not yet clear, sources familiar with the administration's discussions said they expected the policy to have been influenced by two Cuban-American Republican lawmakers from Florida, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. Both are staunch opponents of Cuba's communist government.

Obama re-established normal diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba in December 2014, then visited Cuba months later, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

Fidel Castro, viewed in many parts of Cuba as a revolutionary hero and national patron, stepped down as president in 2008 and died last November at age 90. His brother Raúl, now 86, succeeded Fidel as president.

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