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Trump partially rolls back Obama’s Cuba thaw

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Media captionWhat will Trump change with Cuba?

US President Donald Trump says he is rolling back the Obama administration’s “completely one-sided deal with Cuba”.

Speaking in Miami, Florida, he said his new policy would tighten rules affecting travel and on sending funds to the Caribbean island nation.

But he is not reversing key diplomatic and commercial ties, and will not close the US embassy in Havana.

Commercial flights from the US will continue, as will allowing Americans to return home with Cuban goods.

Mr Trump said the Obama administration’s March 2016 deal with the “brutal” Castro government was “terrible” and “misguided”.

On Friday, Mr Trump signed a presidential directive calling for tighter enforcement of a longstanding ban on American tourists going to Cuba.

The new policy bans most US business transactions with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group, a Cuban entity involved in all sectors of the economy.

However, it exempts air and sea travel, allowing US airlines and cruise lines to continue serving the island.

Mr Trump had faced calls from the business community not to completely reverse his Democratic predecessor’s diplomatic rapprochement between the two former Cold War foes.

It is the latest part of former President Barack Obama’s legacy that Mr Trump has moved to dismantle.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump spoke during a visit to Miami

He cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, announced he would withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, and is attempting to repeal and replace Obamacare, his predecessor’s signature policy accomplishment.

In Friday’s remarks, Mr Trump set out how his administration would seek to prevent US dollars from being used to fund what it regards as a repressive military-dominated government.

“The profits from investment and tourism flow directly to the military,” he said to applause. “The regime take the money and owns the industry.”

“We do not want US dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba,” he told the audience.

Earlier in the day, Vice-President Mike Pence visited Little Havana in Miami to play dominos with Cuban-Americans.

BBC News – US & Canada

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