Airlines Muted on Trump's Cuba Travel Changes

Kristen Gonzales
June 21, 2017

President Donald Trump on Friday announced he will reinstate tough restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and American companies looking to do business there, reversing course on former President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize relations with the island nation.

"We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are free, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled", Trump demanded.

Trump told an audience of Cuban-Americans in Miami that he would tighten some restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, though he left in place many of Obama's wide-ranging reforms.

During his speech, Trump slammed Cuba for human rights abuses, saying, "The Castro regime has shipped arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela".

"Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve it through pressures and impositions, or by using more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure", an official statement released by the Cuban government said Saturday. Can people still travel to the country? They are still starving and there is no freedom whatsoever.

"I am 100% Republican".

Despite the sanctions, which were meant to inflict sufficient pain on the Cuban government to bring about its collapse, the Castro regime persevered.

United Kingdom visitors to Cuba have many alternative routes to the island, including non-stop Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick to Havana and Varadero, charter flights to a range of airports and connections via Paris or Madrid to the Cuban capital.

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"It would be more effective to continue an open line of communication and working relationship with a government in need of democratic assistance, instead of shutting them out", Boozman said. "This is why Trump wants to strengthen the sanctions".

"I have no worries because we have had so many years of embargoes and things".

The U.S. severed ties with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro's revolution, and spent decades trying to either overthrow the government or isolate the island, including by toughening an economic embargo first imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"The Cuban regime will always find an excuse to blame the US government", she said.

"Given whatever difficulties we have and they have, we should be able to work it out through normal diplomatic dialogue and trade relations", Lee said. This will essentially shield USA airlines and cruise lines serving the island. Under the expected changes, the U.S. will ban American financial transactions with the dozens of enterprises run by the military-linked corporation GAESA, which operates dozens of hotels, tour buses, restaurants and other facilities. Remittances from people in America to Cubans won't be cut off.

"We're the ones who are hurt", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a private restaurant in Havana.

But the changes would ultimately meet four objectives, according to the White House: Ensure compliance with US law, hold the Cuban government accountable for alleged human rights abuses, further the interests of the USA and the Cuban people, and "empower the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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