Undoing All the Good Work on Cuba

In FOREIGN RELATIONS, New York Times Editorial On
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To the long list of Barack Obama’s major initiatives that President Trump is obsessed with reversing, we may soon be able to add Cuba. In 2014, Mr. Obama opened a dialogue with Cuba after more than a half-century of unyielding hostility, leading to an easing of sanctions. Mr. Trump promised in his campaign to return to a more hard-line approach. If he does, as seems likely, he will further isolate America, hurt American business interests and, quite possibly, impede the push for greater democracy on the Caribbean island.

Soon after his election, Mr. Trump declared, vaguely but ominously, that if Cuba did not “make a better deal” he would “terminate deal.” He gave no specifics and no decisions have been announced. But details of what a policy reversal could look like are emerging.

The aim generally would be to reimpose limits on travel and commerce, supposedly to punish Cuba’s despotic government, now led by Raúl Castro, brother of the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Among the measures being considered are blocking transactions by American companies with firms that have ties to the Cuban military, which is deeply enmeshed in the economy, and tightening restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba that Mr. Obama eased last year before his historic trip to Havana.

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Moving to Scuttle Obama Legacy, Trump Will Crack Down on Cuba

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday will move to halt the historic rapprochement between the United States and Cuba set in motion by former President Barack Obama, delivering a speech in Miami in which he plans to announce he is clamping down on travel and commercial ties with the island nation to force the government of Raúl Castro to change its repressive ways.

Mr. Trump is expected to declare that the two-year-old Obama-era approach of engagement had amounted to a failed policy of appeasement. To that end, he plans to outline stiffer rules for American travelers visiting Cuba and a sweeping prohibition against transactions with companies controlled by the military, which runs vast swaths of the hotel and tourism sector, according to White House officials.

The changes are likely to affect both countries, making it more difficult and costly for Americans to travel to and do business with Cuba. The island’s population potentially may pay the steeper price, particularly Cubans who derive their livelihoods from tourism and increased business opportunities stemming from the opening.

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