Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

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The Cuban media called Trump's new foreign policy on Cuba "regrettable" and "archaic".

Even as Trump predicted a quick end to President Raul Castro's regime, he challenged Cuba to negotiate better agreements for Americans, Cubans and those whose identities lie somewhere in between.

Likewise, Trump will not cut off recently resumed direct U.S. -Cuba commercial flights, but will impose additional restrictions for personal travel to the island 90 miles south of Key West.

Under Trump's revised policy, while Cubans living in the states still can travel to Cuba, and the USA embassy remains open on Cuban soil, Americans once again are restricted from traveling to the island, and business transactions are also limited. "Officially, today, they are rejected".

"In an extremely packed and very warm auditorium", Trump said he was "canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

The official statement noted that "any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, via pressure and coercion, is destined to fail". As President Trump pointed out in his speech earlier today, he intends to keep the USA embassy open "in hope that our countries can forge a much stronger" relationship in the future.

Trump's speech, which came as the president signed a directive outlining his posture toward Cuba, is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to chip away at Obama's legacy, of which the Cuba policy of starting a historic detente was a major part.

The lengthy statement then went on to strike a conciliatory tone, saying Cuba wants to continue negotiations with the United States on a variety of subjects.

As word of Trump's proposals began to emerge this week, Benjamin Rhodes, a former senior Obama official who negotiated much of the thaw with Cuba, said it was important to focus on what would "not change" including diplomatic relations, bilateral cooperation in areas such as narcotics trafficking and immigration. This policy shift also poses an unjustifiable risk to our national security, as further US disengagement opens up opportunities for countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China to gain influence on an island 90 miles off our coast.

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The new policy says Americans will no longer be able to plan their own Cuba trip under a people-to-people exchange license. Under the expected changes, the United States will ban American financial transactions with the dozens of enterprises run by the military-linked corporation GAESA, which operates dozens of hotels, tour buses, restaurants and other facilities.

That makes "self-directed, individual travel" allowed under the Obama-era rules "prohibited", the document states.

"Trump is adding teeth to Obama's previous policy, and he's talking about putting the human rights issue first".

"The president's decision to revert back toward an old policy of isolation with Cuba - a policy that failed to work for decades - is a mistake", Bennet said in a statement.

Moscow said Trump's policy changes showed that "anti-Cuban discourse is still widely in demand". It will not fully reverse the steps taken by Barack Obama in 2015 to ease the half-century policy of isolating Cuba.

"The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo", Cuban state TV said. Mexico took a more moderate line, urging Washington and Havana to resolve their differences "via dialogue".

"They made a deal with a government that spread violence and instability in the region and nothing they got - think about it - nothing they got - they fought for everything and we just didn't fight hard enough, but now, those days are over. They only enrich the Cuban regime", the president said.

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