"Easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people".
Trump said he would challenge Cuba to come back to the table with a new agreement. Additionally, the announced changes include an exception that will allow for transactions incidental to the sending, processing, and receipt of authorized remittances to the extent they would otherwise be restricted by the new policy limiting transactions with certain identified Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. Travelers were legally required to maintain logs of their full-time "people-to-people" schedules but the Obama administration made clear it would not enforce the requirement.
Independent Cuban enterprises not affiliated with the military, which are smaller and far fewer in number, will still be permitted to do business with USA citizens and companies under Trump's policy. "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". But, in a shift from Obama's approach, Trump said trade and other penalties would stay in place until a long list of prerequisites was met.
Marriott is now the only USA hotel company with a property open in Cuba, and this new regulation could put the property's license renewal - and the opening of a planned second property - in jeopardy.
Trump will not go so far as to sever diplomatic ties with Havana or shutter the U.S. Embassy, which reopened there in 2015.
Trump said that when Cuba is ready "to take concrete steps to these ends", then the USA will be ready to negotiate "a much better deal for Cubans and Americans". "There is a tremendous opportunity for success in Cuba for Arkansas farmers, and the lifting of credit restrictions on agriculture is a logical first step". "Thank you, President Trump, for keeping your commitments". The policies followed by numerous US governments, with the exception of Obama's, have only led to political confrontation.
Granma, the Cuban government's state-run newspaper, said the president was "stuck in a failed policy that has caused much damage to the Cuban people and has left the United States isolated". Even among Cuban-Americans in South Florida, almost two-thirds want to lift the US embargo.
In practical terms, Trump's review of the deal was limited - it does not break diplomatic ties with Raul Castro's communist regime, but it tightens rules for Americans traveling to Cuba, bans ties with a military-run tourism firm and reaffirms the existing United States trade embargo. "I guess we have to wait and see because I think he has good intentions".
"When he's cutting back on travel, he's hurting us, the Cuban entrepreneurs", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a restaurant in Havana. He was happy with Obama's policies, but said they weren't enforced enough to make sure only Cuban people benefited.
Senior White House officials who briefed reporters before the announcement said Obama's overtures had enriched Cuba's military while repression increased on the island.
Cheered by Cuba hardliners in both parties, Trump's new policy is broadly opposed by US businesses eager to invest in Cuba. Marco Rubio, another Florida Republican, have shown no interest in doing so.
The reasoning, according to Trump and his GOP supporters, is to protect the Cuban people from abuses by their own government. "But more than anything else this change empowers the people of Cuba".
"Whether it's popular or not, America must stand for freedom", said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who joined the president. Rubio opposed Obama's re-engagement with Cuba.