Trump Looks to Reverse Obama’s Policies Toward Cuba

Havana Cuba
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Only a few days after it was announced that a majority of U.S. senators supported a bill to fully lift all restrictions on travel from the U.S. to Cuba, several media outlets are now reporting that President Donald Trump is looking to reverse many of former President Barack Obama’s policies toward Cuba.

According to two unnamed sources who spoke to The Daily Caller, the development is due to the efforts of Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Republican Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

This information coming from an anti-embargo group, which spoke on the condition of anonymity, was confirmed Sunday by John Kavulich of the nonpartisan U.S. – Cuba Trade and Economic Council, according to The Daily Caller report.

According to The Independent, the White House had put the Cuba policy under review as soon as it took office in January and is set to announce its position sometime in June.

Obama enacted several changes to Cuban policy during his tenure in office, including the termination of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that gave Cuban illegal immigrants a path to legal status, and the re-implementation of the People-to-People initiative, which requires Americans to take part in various cultural experiences in Cuba, essentially, as the name implies, putting them in direct contact with the people of Cuba with hopes of learning about the way of life in the country. It was implemented by President Clinton in 1999 and suspended by President Bush in 2004 before Obama resurrected the program.

Last week, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., reintroduced a bill that would terminate the remaining travel restrictions for Americans and legal residents who wish to visit Cuba.

But although the bill received 55 of the 100 votes, representing a majority, it still fell short of the 60 votes required to advance the legislation. According to Reuters, there was no indication the chamber’s Republican leaders would allow the measure to come up for a vote.

An earlier version of the bill introduced in 2015 similarly had a bipartisan mix of co-sponsors, but ultimately never made it to the Senate floor, according to The Hill. 

The Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by 52 other senators, a significant jump from the eight backers for the original 2015 bill.

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