HAVANA — Making good on his deal with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Florida), President Donald Trump announced Friday that he plans to roll back some of the steps Barack Obama took to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.
In 2015, Obama took several actions to weaken travel restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and to eliminate some of the economic prohibitions between the two countries. He removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and loosened the export of US internet hardware and telecommunications. He also set up increased cooperation in intelligence-gathering, drug interdiction, scientific research and environmental protection.
Obama made it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba. Nearly everyone can now visit Cuba without applying for a specific license. US airlines can fly there directly with cheaper fares; only general licenses are required for most travel to Cuba.
In his Presidential Policy Guidance on Cuba, Trump reinstituted some restrictions on US travel to Cuba and US business relations with the island. He did not touch Obama’s loosened limits on Cuban-American travel and remittances to Cuba, however, because that would anger a significant voter base in Florida.
Trump also left in place the US embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, DC, that Obama established. And Trump did not end direct flights to Cuba by US airlines.
Trump’s Restrictions Will Hurt Americans and Cubans Alike
On June 1 Engage Cuba released a report concluding that a reversal of Obama’s Cuba policies could cost the US economy $6.6 billion and affect nearly 13,000 jobs during Trump’s first term. Obama’s 2015 policies have led to significant economic growth and…