White House Confirms Trump's Speech on Cuba in Miami on Friday

Marco Rubio previews coming Donald Trump change in Cuba policy

The influx in Americans going to see the sights has resulted in the rebirth of cruises and air service from the U.S.to the island, with nonstop flights available from NY to Havana.

President Donald Trump on Friday will announce a revised U.S. Cuba policy that eliminates travel for single individuals and bans future U.S. business transactions with Cuba's military, according to senior administration officials.

"The president vowed to reverse the Obama administration policies towards Cuba that have enriched the Cuban military regime and increased the repression on the island - it is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping", one senior administration official said during the briefing.

On Friday, according to reports by Politico and the Miami Herald, President Donald Trump will announce during a speech in Miami that he will reinstate harsher travel restrictions on US citizens looking to travel to Cuba. "President Obama attempted to change that", Sanchez said.

While not a full reversal of Obama's historic Cuba rapprochement, Trump's recast USA policy hews closer to the hard line espoused by Cuban-American Republicans who derided Obama's 2014 policy as a capitulation.

Another airline, Southwest, which transports travelers from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale to Havana, also commented it would "continue to seek opportunities to offer unique value and hospitality", without going into much detail, ahead of Trump's announcement.

The firm - run by President Raul Castro's son-in-law Luis Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas - is now involved in joint ventures with several foreign firms that have driven tourism to the island, including the Marriott hotel chain. White House officials also noted that Americans can still bring Cuban cigars back from their trip.

Trump will justify his partial reversal of Obama's measures to a large extent on human rights grounds. 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.

Trump's new directives do not reinstitute the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that was ended by former President Barack Obama before leaving office earlier this year.

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

Yuri Barroso, a business promotions expert in Cuba, told Reuters that if the country were to lose its support from us tourists, it would cause serious financial "pain for many Cubans". With certain exceptions such as air and sea transportation, U.S. citizens and firms will only be allowed to conduct business directly with Cuban people.

The administration wants "to see commercial interaction with Cuba".

Protesters who support easing restrictions on Cuba - saying that more engagement with the island is a better bet to undermine the regime - are expected to mass outside the theater in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood where Trump is expected to speak. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was instrumental in drafting Trump's changes, with help from Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. No deadline has been set, the officials said.

The new approach aims to tighten several of the travel and commercial policies that President Obama loosened over the last two years with the goal of curbing the flow of USA cash to the Cuban government, especially its military.

While tourism to Cuba is banned by US law, the Obama administration had been allowing people to travel to Cuba as part of "people to people" educational trips for visitors, a popular classification that a White House official said was "ripe for abuse" by those looking for beach vacations.

The official said that the administration "will continue to take an aggressive stance" on human rights, but declined to comment on foreign policy related to other nations.

Trump's declaration in a crowded, sweltering auditorium was a direct rebuke to Obama, for whom the diplomatic opening with Cuba was a central accomplishment of his presidency.



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