LIVE: Trump to Announce Rollback of Trade and Travel with Cuba

The president is scheduled to unfold his new policy from Miami at 1:10 PM.

by VICE Staff
Jun 16 2017, 5:10pm

Photo via Flickr user dariorug

On Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he'll be rolling back many of the policies former President Obama put in place regarding trade and travel with Cuba, NBC News reports.

Back in 2014, Obama restored diplomatic ties with the country after 50 years of isolation. In addition to easing trade restrictions, the former president also made it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba and a few major airlines even started operating direct flights.

Now, Trump's aiming to reverse many of those policies in an effort to "steer money away from the Cuban military and toward the Cuban people," according to a senior administration official. Still, many human rights advocates say the rollback will only hurt the country.

"It's true the repressive system in Cuba has not changed," Daniel Wilkinson, the managing director of the Americas division at Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times. "But the fact that two years of a different policy didn't change things isn't a reason to go back to one that was a clear failure for decades."

While Americans will still be able to travel to Cuba under one of 12 different travel categories, Trump is reportedly planning to place more regulation on the "people-to-people" option that's given Americans the most flexibility to travel freely throughout the country. Those traveling under that category will likely need to do so alongside an authorized tour group and will face more scrutiny upon arriving back in the US on how they spent their trip, according to the Times.

He's also planning to ban Americans from doing business with Cuban companies that are controlled by the military, the Times reports. Commercial flights and cruises will still be able to operate in Cuba, but many of the government-owned hotels may be off-limits to US visitors. The State Department is expected to issue a list of prohibited companies for more clarity.

Trump's announcement, which he'll deliver from Miami's Manuel Artime Theater, is expected to appease many of the Cuban Americans who supported him in the 2016 election. While many members of that community were opposed Obama's Cuba policy, a majority of Americans—63 percent—supported the decision, according to the Pew Research Center.

You can watch the announcement above via the White House livestream at 1:10 PM.