MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ahead of President Donald Trump’s Miami visit, where he is set to discuss his rollbacks to Cuba policies, the White House has released some of the changes he plans to make.
President Trump sought advice from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who who were deemed experts on Cuba policy, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, considered a key participant in the decision-making.
The Trump administration said the new policy, which goes into effect Friday, does not target Cuban people, but rather the military regime.
“The President has made clear that he will look toward repressive regimes in this hemisphere… the Cuba policy needs to change,” a senior administration official said.
The U.S. Commerce and Treasury Departments will restrict the flow of money to the regime, which the administration said has only paid lip service to reforms promised two years ago.
Americans will not be allowed to conduct any business with anyone or entity linked to the Cuban military or intelligence services.
The White House said the Obama administration left too many loopholes, or chose not to enforce certain rules, that resulted in benefits to the Cuban military or intelligence agencies.
The administration will also be clamping down on tourism. They reiterated tourism is currently banned, so people will have to follow the regulations that are in place now. No more people-to-people travel, which the White House said was open to too much abuse. The policy will not directly talk about flights and cruises.
However, family travel is currently authorized and will continue to be. For example, if someone in the U.S. has a family member die in Cuba, they can travel to the island nation.
Of major note, there will be no change to the “wet foot, dry foot” policy and the U.S. embassy in Cuba will also remain open.
While the policy starts Friday, the practical effects won’t be felt right away. The administration said the policy directs new regulations to be developed. The rules will take effect when the Treasury Department has the regulations ready.
The administration will take into consideration people who have already made travel arrangements under the current rules and regulations.
The president also outlined benchmarks that would be as progress by the administration. They include: free elections, the release of political prisoners and direct pay for Cuban workers.