President Trump is considering a rollback on policies aimed at opening diplomatic relations with Cuba put in place by the Obama administration, according to reports.
While no final decision on the matter has been made, sources told CNN that Trump is looking to make a symbolic gesture that will both fulfill his campaign promises to anti-Castro members of Congress, as well as conservative Cuban-American voters.
Former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in December 2014 began efforts to re-establish relations after decades of diplomatic hostility present between the two countries since Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. Obama’s policies opened up both trade and travel with the island.
Possible changes to the Obama-era policy may include establishing regulations for businesses interested in working in Cuban markets, reimposing banking limits and people-to-people exchanges, NBC News reported.
Government sources expect that Trump will demand U.S. fugitives of justice be extradited, including Assata Shakur, who received political asylum in Cuba after she was convicted of killing of a New Jersey state trooper, then escaping from prison, CNN reported.
The policy shift may also affect the purchase of Cuban-made cigars and rum.
“I am confident the president will keep his commitment on Cuba policy by making changes that are targeted and strategic and which advance the Cuban people’s aspirations for economic and political liberty,” Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio told the New York Times. A White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity said nothing has been presented to the President in an official sense.
“Until he sees all the options before him — and none of us can speak for him — we do not know what he will decide in the end,” the official said.
Critics of Obama’s executive orders have accused the former President of making unilateral concessions to Cuba. Sources emphasized it’s highly unlikely Trump intends to undo all Obama-era policies regarding the island.
A Trump announcement on the changes may come later this month, likely in Miami.
The potential rollback comes amid what is likely Raul Castro’s final term as President. The Cuban politician announced he’d be stepping down in February 2018.
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