Cubans brace for worst as Trump takes aim at Obama opening

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In a speech Friday at a Miami theater associated with Cuban exiles, Trump will cast the policy moves as fulfillment of a promise he made during last year's presidential campaign to reverse then-President Barack Obama's diplomatic re-engagement with the island after decades of estrangement.

"It is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping", the official said, citing a pledge Trump made to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association as the group endorsed him for president during the campaign previous year. Trump's policy will also not reinstate the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which allowed any Cuban who made it to US soil to stay and become a legal resident.

The group that has ruled the country since the 1959 revolution is dying out and Cuba's main political and trade ally Venezuela is in crisis.

The rules did not actually change what US visitors are legally able to do in Cuba, and regular tourism is still technically illegal, but it allowed individuals to take people-to-people trips and self-certify in an affidavit that they had complied with those regulations.

The Cuban military has been expanding its reach into the tourist industry, with its holding company, the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), owning the best hotels and most retail outlets, rental auto companies and import entities. Americans traveling to Cuba will face more scrutiny and potentially audits of their trip when they get back home in order to prove their dollars didn't go to the Cuban military's pockets, which control much of the tourism economy.

In a Thursday briefing call, reporters pressed officials on why the Trump administration is emphasizing Cuba's human rights issues when the White House has previously demonstrated interest in working with other problematic regimes. Normalizing relations with Cuba is believed to be one of the more notable accomplishments of Obama's legacy. The embargo remains in place and unchanged by Trump's policy.

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Rubio, a Cuban policy hardliner, has said that the change is positive as "economic practices that benefit the Cuban military at the expense of the Cuban people will soon be coming to an end". Marco Rubio, Republican Florida.

Trump is expected to justify the new restrictions on human rights grounds.

Embassies in Washington and in Havana will remain open, sources tell CNN, and Cuban American travel and remittances remain unaffected.

"The oppressors of the Cuban people are the Cuban government who have increased repression on the island against dissidents ... since reestablishing diplomatic relations".

"While the news comes as a step back for travel to Cuba, it is business as usual for Intrepid Travel", said Leigh Barnes, director of Intrepid Group North America. "So directing the Treasury to change regulations to ensure anyone who does people-to-people travel does so as part of a group will ensure they engage in a schedule of activities that actually do so".

Trump will not go so far as to sever diplomatic ties with Havana or shutter the USA embassy that reopened there in 2015. "Likewise, Americans should be allowed to travel to other nations and serve as diplomats who can spread our soft power overseas".

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