Trump thrusts US, Cuba back toward hostile relationship

President Donald Trump announced a policy shift on Friday that would prohibit solo trips to Cuba, but would allow group trips to continue.

"His speech was aggressive and threatening, . revealing his contempt and ignorance" the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro said.

Donald Trump in Miami announcing his new policy on Cuba.

In reality, Trump left much of the Obama-era opening in place and did not sever diplomatic ties but his bluster against Cuban's communist rulers and tightening of rules harked back to tougher times. Trump's order restricts the flow of USA dollars to Cuba's military, security and intelligence services as well as travel by Americans to the islands.

The bloc, formally called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, was founded by the late leaders Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in 2004.

"America has rejected the Cuban people's oppressors", Trump said in Miami's Little Havana, the cradle of Cuban-American resistance to Castro's government.

"All the Trump administration is saying is, 'there's one thing we're going to change, and that is we're no longer going to permit individual travelers to purport to be traveling to Cuba under the education exemption, '" said Harry Clark, a partner at Orrick and chair of the law firm's global trade and compliance group. "Instead of asking Cuba to free political prisoners, Trump should expel the criminal politicians sheltered in the U.S.".

But the new measures are likely to have dampening effect on USA nationals traveling to Cuba.

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"The Government of Cuba denounces the new measures for strengthening the blockade, which are destined to fail as proven repeatedly in the past", the statement said. "Why should we keep feeding the people who are on top when they repress their own people".

July 2015: The US and Cuba reopen embassies in each other's capitals and restore full diplomatic ties. Delta, JetBlue and American will adhere to new changes and will continue to fly their regular flights to Cuba, they said in statements. "They only enrich the Cuban regime".

Trump was clear in speaking of "cancellation" of the Obama policy on the island and made any negotiation of "a better agreement" to the process of democratic openness that Cuba lives.

What did Candidate Trump say? Cuban cigars and rum will still be allowed to enter the U.S., according to CNN. "This is why Trump wants to strengthen the sanctions". The Cuban tyranny uses the embargo as a pretext to justify that it has failed.

The policy reaffirms the United States statutory embargo of Cuba and opposes calls in the United Nations and other global forums for its termination.

April 2009: President Barack Obama lifts restrictions on family travel and the sending of remittances to Cuba.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republican, Cuban-American hardliners, lobbied Trump hard toward reversal. Trump, on the other hand, described his move as an effort to bring about a "free Cuba" after more than half a century of communism.

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