President Donald Trump reverses an Obama-era deal to normalize U.S. -Cuba relations on Friday in Miami.
Reversing course in Cuba would benefit neither Cubans nor Americans. Last year, Obama traveled to Cuba, becoming the first USA president in almost a century to visit the island.
In return, the Cuban-Americans who turned out to welcome him to the symbolic heart of the exile community rewarded Trump with what in turn he seems to want the most: wild applause. The U.S. could do more to promote affordable access for Cubans to the internet. Tourism was still prohibited, however.
"Why would you go back to a policy that has failed for 55 years?"
As a result, the changes - though far-reaching - appear to be less sweeping than many United States pro-engagement advocates had feared. This will lessen American's company expansion in Cuba.
American citizens will still be able to take commercial flights to Cuba, but once again only for 12 specific reasons - ranging from journalism to educational activities. Ensconced in think tanks in Washington and NY, or in the private sector on both coasts, the Obama alumni network has become a diaspora of the disappointed as Trump tries to make good on his promises to upend much of what they had worked to accomplish.
Trump was in Miami on Friday to announce that he was reinstating the restrictions on travel to Cuba and banning any business dealings with the Cuban military, which controls the tourism industry.
Americans will be prohibited from spending money at businesses or hotels owned by the Cuban military, which are common in the country.
He also doesn't plan to restore the so-called "wet feet, dry feet" immigration policy - repealed by Obama - that allowed Cuban migrants who reached USA soil to stay.
"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.
"Cuba denounces the new hardening of the blockade, which is destined to fail", said an official statement from the Cuban Government, which nevertheless repeated its "willingness to continue a respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest". "We will enforce the embargo".
All visitors are required to maintain full schedules while in Cuba and keep detailed logs for five years - something that has been rarely checked.
In the campaign, Trump pledged in Florida to overturn Obama's opening.
Those who are caught violating Cuban sanctions could face civil or criminal penalties, with individual civil fines that could reach up to $65,000 per violation, according to the Treasury Department.
"We're not going there to support the military, we are going there to support the Cuban people and learn the culture", Martin said.
The historic deal Obama struck with Cuba in 2014 led to the 2016 opening of a Starwood hotel on the island - the "first Cuban hotel managed by a US company in almost 60 years", according to the Post, and other hotel companies had hoped to follow suit.
But facing lower than expected travel demand, a number of carriers have already begun to scale back their Cuba operations.
Some 285,000 people visited the Caribbean country in 2016, up 74 percent over 2015, with Americans the third-biggest group after Canadians and Cuban expats. "As someone who had the privilege of traveling to Cuba with President Obama, I saw firsthand how the country has a desire for openness and information". "You may well see more of the airlines pulling out, if it's just not worth it". His critics, however, have questioned why his administration is now singling out Cuba for human rights abuses but downplaying the issue in other parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally Trump visited last month where political parties and protests are banned.
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