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President Trump is looking to review former President Obama’s Cuba policy, which resulted in the thawing of relations in 2014.
The New York Times reports:
“Mr. Trump wants to announce the changes in Miami as early as June and deliver on a campaign promise that remains a cherished demand for the politically conservative Cuban-American exile community, according to aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But he has not made a final decision on the steps he will take because of internal disagreements within his administration over how far to go in unwinding one of President Barack Obama’s most significant foreign policy achievements.”
The Cuba Thaw was one of Obama’s greatest accomplishments, opening up the isolated country to America for the first time in over fifty years. It resulted in an expansion of American tourism and a renewing of ties between Cubans and Americans. However, it also resulted in an increase in the Cuban military’s economic influence due to it having a hand in almost every single crack of the Cuban economy and a crackdown on political dissidents.
Several influential Republican lawmakers such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who were opposed to the opening of relations without democratic elections and the release of political prisoners.
“I am confident the president will keep his commitment on Cuba policy by making changes that are targeted and strategic and which advance the Cuban people’s aspirations for economic and political liberty,” said Senator Rubio to the New York Times.
This has prompted two bipartisan coalitions to introduce legislation which would lift the trade embargo against Cuba and allow Americans to travel between Cuba and the United States. The Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2017 would repeal “key provisions of previous laws that block Americans from doing business in Cuba, but does not repeal portions of law that address human rights or property claims against the Cuban government.”
The bill was sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and supported by people like Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Angus King (R-ME).
According to EngageCuba, a nonprofit group, the United States could lose up to $3.5 billion dollars and 10,000 jobs if Trump reversed the Obama Cuba Thaw.