Taking a tougher approach against Cuba after promising to do so during the presidential campaign, Trump will make clear that a ban on US tourism to Cuba remains in effect and his administration will beef up enforcement of travel rules under authorized categories, the officials said.
The new policy will prohibit Americans from spending money at businesses owned by the Cuban military through its Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A. (GAESA), the most powerful company in Cuba.
But now, if USA citizens want to travel for any of those exempt reasons, according to the Herald they will have to provide detailed records and plans showing what they will be doing while in Cuba and keep extensive records of all financial transactions within Cuba for five years to make available for the Treasury Department if requested. The rules also require a daylong schedule of activities created to expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans.
Trump will not go so far as to sever diplomatic ties with Havana or shutter the US embassy that reopened there in 2015.
The president is expected to emphasize that a ban on American tourism to Cuba remains in effect and announce that his administration will "strictly [enforce] the 12 authorized categories for USA citizens to travel to the island".
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"They know exactly what they're doing and what they're trying to do is stop travel to Cuba", said James Williams, president of a lobbying group that advocates for greater engagement with the island. Some of the details of the changes were released Thursday. According to surveys by Pew Research Center -the most recent one from December 2016-an increasing majority of Americans (73 percent) favors ending the trade embargo against Cuba.
At home, Trump's critics have questioned why his administration is now singling out Cuba for its human rights record while insisting that in other parts of the world it will not lecture other countries on the issue. The volume of USA exports to Cuba-especially poultry, rice, corn, wheat, and soy-currently allowed under the US embargo could also plummet, since the Cuban government monopolizes import and export trade on the island.
Trump said throughout the 2016 campaign that he was willing to rollback diplomatic relations with the communist regime in Cuba. The embargo remains in place and unchanged by Trump's policy.
The president developed the plan after meeting with members of Congress - including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, both Cuban-American Republicans from South Florida.
Trump aides said Thursday that Rubio was "very helpful" to the administration as it spent months reviewing the policy.
Castro's first vice president, the 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, is widely tipped to assume Castro's mantle, but there is also talk of a radical break with the older generation and an embrace of the market reforms that have been a feature of Castro's nine-year rule. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration would conduct a "top-to-bottom" review of U.S. -Cuba policy.