President Donald Trump will announce a rollback of parts of Barack Obama’s Cuban policy next Friday in Miami, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The Daily Caller was the first to report that the president is set to reverse policies enacting by Obama due to the urging of Cuban policy hardliners in Congress.
Obama re-established diplomatic ties with the island nation, ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that gave Cuban illegal immigrants a path to legal status, allowed more travel to the country, and loosened restrictions on doing business in the nation.
Trump is not expected to cut off diplomatic ties. However, John Kavulich of the U.S. – Cuba Trade and Economic Council told TheDC that Trump will likely reinstate travel restrictions and not allow businesses to deal with institutions controlled by or affiliated with the Cuban military. This would include practically every business, according to a former Obama administration official who is knowledgeable about Cuban policy.
Multiple sources told TheDC that the decision by Trump to enforce a hardline Cuba policy is due to behind the scenes lobbying by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez.
On the campaign trail last year, Trump attacked Obama’s strengthening of ties with Cuba. However, he told TheDC in 2015 that he was open to ending the embargo.
While this move pleases these Cuba policy hardliners, three Republican senators sent a letter to the White House Friday expressing displeasure with the anticipated policy changes.
“We view recent reforms to U.S.-Cuba policy as providing critical strategic advances that have already benefited everyday Cubans and provided direct benefits to Americans by enhancing U.S. national security and boosting the U.S. economy,” Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, and Arkansas Sen. John Boozman wrote in a letter obtained by The Daily Caller. “We strongly urge you to weigh carefully any rollback of policies that would endanger these benefits.”
It is unknown where exactly Trump will make the announcement in Miami, but it is sure to please much of the elder Cuban exile community there. A key Miami Republican donor recently told TheDC that a hardline Cuba policy might not get Trump a win in Miami, but delivers a crowd of Hispanics in “Make America Great Again” hats.