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Trump, Teaming Up With Rubio, to Roll Back Obama-Era Cuba Policies

President Trump teamed up with former rival Marco Rubio to roll back President Obama’s Cuba policies. What that means for U.S.-Cuba relations, and more.

Obama and Castro

President Trump will visit Miami on Friday to announce a rolling back of Obama-era Cuba policies, a move intended to put pressure on the communist Castro regime.

According to press reports and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who worked with Trump on Friday’s announcement, Americans will still be able to travel to Cuba. However, when they go they can only patronize small and independent businesses not owned by the country’s military.

ROLLBACK

The Wall Street Journal reported on President Trump’s announcement on Thursday night:

President Donald Trump will issue a policy directive on Friday aimed at scaling back some of the changes made by his predecessor to U.S.-Cuba policy, taking aim at tourist travel and transactions with Cuba’s military but leaving in place many of former President Barack Obama’s steps toward normalization.

Speaking from Miami, Mr. Trump will direct the Treasury and Commerce departments to prohibit direct financial transactions with Cuba’s military and intelligence services, White House officials said Thursday. The directive will allow exceptions for airlines and cruise lines and will aim to not disrupt business under way, they said.

GAESA

The focus of Trump’s rollback seems to be the Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A., or GAESA. Politico explains that GAESA is a “Cuban military holding company” that “has de facto control over nearly every major part of Cuba’s economy.”

Rubio said on Twitter on Friday morning that Trump’s announcement is about prohibiting payments to GAESA and driving American tourists to small businesses:

FLASHBACK

President Obama’s policy toward Cuba was criticized by Rubio and other Republicans. It also produced perhaps the most awkward handshake of President Obama’s tenure:

Obama spent days in Cuba with the man above, Cuban dictator Raul Castro. Obama earned criticism for attending a baseball game with Castro, especially because he attended the game right after terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium.