Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Cuba calls Trump speech on island 'grotesque spectacle'

Cuba calls Trump speech on island 'grotesque spectacle'

He believes that Trump's refusal to mend fences with Havana would harm Cuba by slashing the number of American tourists coming to the island, undermine the fledgling business cooperation between the two countries and antagonize businessmen on both sides of the Straits of Florida.

Responding to Trump's announcement, the Cuban government said in a statement that American attempts to fundamentally change the island were unlikely to succeed.

Trump said he would restrict U.S. tourist visits to the island, which had increased as part of cultural exchange travel approved by Obama.

But the very same citizen to citizen diplomacy likely to be limited by the new rules has persuaded me that Cubans and Americans are more alike than they are different. As Amnesty International cited in a 2009 report on the effects of the embargo on Cuba, it is "the most comprehensive set of USA sanctions on any country, including the other countries designated by the U.S. government to be state sponsors of terrorism".

"The United States are not in the condition to lecture us", it said, adding that Cuba has signed up to 44 "international instruments on human rights" compared to just 18 in the case of the U.S. Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart in the Miami Herald.

In late-2014, then-President Barack Obama launched the process of fence-mending with Cuba, and in March 2016, he paid a personal visit to Havana. Among other things, a blanket prohibition would effectively exclude dealings with military-run conglomerate Grupo de Administracion Empresarial, S.A. ("GAESA"), the single largest player in the Cuban economy, with dozens of companies under its umbrella covering numerous sectors, particularly hospitality, retail and trade. Grupo de Administracion Empresarial SA, known as GAESA, a state-run, military-affiliated conglomerate, owns nearly all of the retail chains in Cuba and 57 of the mainly foreign-run hotels on the island. Run by Raul Castro's son-in-law, it also serves as the "brutal instrument for suppressing the Cuba people's liberty and right to self-determination", they said.

"We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago", it said.

Several companies engaged in business in Cuba expressed relief that Trump didn't take more drastic action. Its experience in Cuba this past year "has been extremely positive". Reimposing restrictions on Americans' ability to travel to the country is one of the least defensible moves the administration could make.

Carnival Corp. also said it was "pleased" the changes will allow its ships to continue to sail to Cuba. On one hand, banking transactions and fees would be exempted, which means American can still rent private properties through Airbnb, for instance.

On January 16, 2017, an overwhelming majority of the US Senate passed a new sanctions bill targeting both Russian Federation and Iran.

He was surrounded by the most reactionary and backward of the Right, the so-called Cuban-Americans, by murderers and terrorists who are responsible for thousands of deaths and maimed people in Cuba and the children of torturers from the Batista dictatorship, by such sad memories for the Cuban people. The mentioned changes would also not take effect immediately.

Emmer, who's been one of Trump's most enthusiastic backers on Capitol Hill, echoed Crawford's criticism, saying Trump's Cuba directive appears to be in violation of his promise to keep the American homeland safe.

Castro has announced he will step aside as president in February 2018. Commercial engagements completed ahead of the issuance of the new regulations will be allowed to proceed.

It is not entirely clear how broad these restrictions will be, as apparently current deals, such as Marriot's management of the Gaviota-owned Four Points Sheraton in Havana, will be allowed to continue. But officials said United States visitors in particular tended to patronise private businesses.

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