Saturday, July 15, 2017

Annotated "Fact" Sheet from the Trump Administration

Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy

President Donald J. Trump is changing the policy of the United States toward Cuba to achieve four objectives:

1.      Enhance compliance with United States law—in particular the provisions that govern the embargo of Cuba and the ban on tourism;
2.      Hold the Cuban regime accountable for oppression and human rights abuses ignored under the Obama policy;
3.      Further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and those of the Cuban people; and
4.      Lay the groundwork for empowering the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty.

Summary of Key Policy Changes:

·        The new policy channels economic activities away from the Cuban military monopoly, Grupo de Administraci√≥n Empresarial (GAESA), including most travel-related transactions, while allowing American individuals and entities to develop economic ties to the private, small business sector in Cuba. The new policy makes clear that the primary obstacle to the Cuban people’s prosperity and economic freedom is the Cuban military’s practice of controlling virtually every profitable sector of the economy. President Trump’s policy changes will encourage American commerce with free Cuban businesses and pressure the Cuban government to allow the Cuban people to expand the private sector.

·        The policy enhances travel restrictions to better enforce the statutory ban on United States tourism to Cuba. Among other changes, travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited. Cuban-Americans will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances.

A complete contradiction.  Group travel must go through official Cuban channels and requires use of hotels, some of which are GAESA linked.  Individual P2P travel was the primary source of funding for “the private, small business sector in Cuba”.

·        The policy reaffirms the United States statutory embargo of Cuba and opposes calls in the United Nations and other international forums for its termination. The policy also mandates regular reporting on Cuba’s progress—if any—toward greater political and economic freedom.

Once again the US will be completely isolated and embarrassed in the UN and other international forums.

·        The policy clarifies that any further improvements in the United States-Cuba relationship will depend entirely on the Cuban government’s willingness to improve the lives of the Cuban people, including through promoting the rule of law, respecting human rights, and taking concrete steps to foster political and economic freedoms.

No such requirements were made of China or Vietnam, nor for Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

·        The policy memorandum directs the Treasury and Commerce Departments to begin the process of issuing new regulations within 30 days. The policy changes will not take effect until those Departments have finalized their new regulations, a process that may take several months. The Treasury Department has issued Q&As that provide additional detail on the impact of the policy changes on American travelers and businesses.

For more information on this policy see the below links to the relevant United States Government Departments: Department of CommerceDepartment of StateDepartment of TreasuryDepartment of Homeland Security, and the Department of Transportation.

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