Cuba Rejects New Trump Policy

According to senior White House officials, Trump is also revisiting trade and travel policies towards Cuba, clamping down on individual people-to-people travel.

In response to the USA, the Cuban government issued a statement on Friday slamming Trump's policy as "destined to fail", while reaffirming its willingness to continue the dialogue and cooperation with Washington.

During a speech Friday in Miami, Trump portrayed his updated policy as the fulfillment of a campaign promise to reverse Obama's diplomatic rapprochement with Cuba after decades of estrangement.

In its response, Cuba accused Trump of using "coercive methods from the past".

Havana considers the new policy driven by Trump to be a "hardening of the blockade (...) which not only causes damage and deprivation to the Cuban people and constitutes an undeniable obstacle to the development of our economy, but also affects the sovereignty and interests of other countries".

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.

Castro's government has clearly stated it does not intend to change its one-party political system.

As a result, the changes - though far-reaching - appear to be less sweeping than many U.S.pro-engagement advocates had feared.

"More importantly, as Cuba moves to reform its economy in the post-Castro era, American businesses should be present to lead by example", Marriott's statement said.

Since taking over the running of the country just over a decade ago, Castro has been gradually expanding the private sector and trying to open up the country to foreign businesses.

"We will keep in place the safeguards to prevent Cubans from risking their lives to unlawful travel to the United States".

The Castro government is certain to reject Trump's list of demands, which includes releasing political prisoners, halting what the US says is abuse of dissidents and allowing greater freedom of expression. But critics say the opening failed to improve rights on the island. He vowed to seek a "much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States".

"Any limitations on travel hurt Cuban small business owners - restaurants, shops, taxis - that depend on travellers for revenue".

It went on to list a litany of concerns: racial discrimination, salary inequality between genders, the marginalization of immigrants and refugees from Islamic and other countries, Trump's proposed wall on the southern border, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, the imprisonment of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, the killing of USA and foreign citizens in drone attacks, the preface for and conduct of the wars in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, and estimates that the Republican health care bill would cause 23 million people to lose medical insurance. "The Cuban people will continue deciding themselves on the changes necessary for Cuba".

Americans can still travel to the island under "educational" pretenses, under the new regulations, but they'll be held to strict rules and must record activity logs and schedules to ensure that they aren't traveling for the sake of tourism. "We do see the benefits of that to the Cuban people".

Cuban-born poet Armando Valladares, who was imprisoned for 22 years by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, said at a weekly luncheon of Cuban exiles that he is vexed that not all of Obama's changes were rolled back.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties. 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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