What: Protest President Trump’s announcement of Cuba policy reversals
When: 4:30 pm, Friday, June 16, 2017
Where: Outside Minneapolis Courthouse, U.S. District Court, 300 So. 4th Street, Minneapolis
President Trump’s visit to Miami tomorrow will include significant reversal of Obama-era policies on Cuba. Join us and protesters in cities across the United States – including Miami – in protesting this travesty.
Here is the latest update from the Miami Herald which says it obtained a copy of the administration’s directive for tomorrow:Trump recasts Cuba policy, takes harder line than Obama on military, travel
BY PATRICIA MAZZEI AND NORA GÁMEZ TORRES
In an overhaul of one of his predecessor’s signature legacies, President Donald Trump will redraw U.S. policy toward Cuba on Friday, tightening travel restrictions for Americans that had been loosened under President Barack Obama and banning U.S. business transactions with Cuba’s vast military conglomerate.Trump’s changes are intended to sharply curtail cash flow to the Cuban government and pressure its communist leaders to let the island’s fledgling private sector grow. Diplomatic relations reestablished by Obama, including reopened embassies in Washington and Havana, will remain. Travel and money sent by Cuban Americans will be unaffected, but Americans will be unable to spend money in state-run hotels or restaurants tied to the military, a significant prohibition.
Trump is expected to sign the presidential policy directive Friday, surrounded by Cuban-American supporters at Miami’s Manuel Artime Theater, a venue named after one of the late leaders of the Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs veterans whose group offered Trump their endorsement last October after he promised exiles a “better deal.” The Miami Herald obtained a draft of the eight-page directive Thursday.
In his remarks, Trump plans to cite human-rights violations in Cuba as justification for the new U.S. approach. Dissidents say government repression has increased.
“The Cuban people have long suffered under a Communist regime that suppresses their legitimate aspirations for freedom and prosperity and fails to respect the essential human dignity of all Cubans,” says Trump’s directive, which calls the policy a set of “initial actions” by his administration.
While not a full reversal of Obama’s historic Cuba rapprochement, Trump’s recast U.S. policyhews closer to the hard line espoused by Cuban-American Republicans who derided Obama’s 2014 policy as a capitulation. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was instrumental in drafting Trump’s changes, with help from Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. Other Cuban-American lawmakers started getting briefed on the policy Thursday.
“If we’re going to have more economic engagement with Cuba, it will be with the Cuban people,” Rubio told the Miami Herald.
He called the new policy a strategic, long-term attempt to force aging Cuban military and intelligence officers to ease their grip on the island’s economy as a younger generation of leaders prepares to take over.
“All the pressure comes from American business interests that go to Cuba, see the opportunities and then come back here and lobby us to lift the embargo,” Rubio said. “I’m trying to reverse the dynamic: I’m trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes. I’m also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government.”
After decades of sanctions failed to push Fidel and Raúl Castro out of power, Obama contended a Cuba more closely tied to the U.S. would no longer be able blame its economic woes on yanqui “imperialism.” His backers, including prominent Miami Cuban-Americans, implored the Trump administration to give existing policy more time to play out. Like Rubio, they argued only a flourishing Cuban private sector would eventually lead to political change; where the two sides disagree is on how best to encourage private growth.
Trump’s policy will not reinstate wet foot, dry foot, the policy that allowed Cuban immigrants who reached U.S. soil to remain in the country. It will not alter the U.S. trade embargo, which can only be lifted by Congress. And it will not limit travel or money sent by Cuban Americans, as former President George W. Bush did — though fewer Cuban government officials will be allowed to come to the U.S. and receive money than under Obama.
Federal agencies will have 90 days to write rules to implement Trump’s policy once he signs it Friday.