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Trump announces new restrictions on Cuba travel, business

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Washington: US President Donald Trump announced new restrictions on US leisure travel to Cuba and US business with Cuban military, the media reported.

“The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade do not help the Cuban people,” said Trump on Friday at a rally in Miami, Florida, adding that he was effectively immediately canceling his predecessor Barack Obama’s “one-sided deal” with Cuba.

According to a statement by the White House, US individuals and companies will be prohibited from doing commerce with Cuban businesses owned by the Cuban military, Xinhua news agency reported.

As to travels, individual leisure travel, permitted by the Obama administration, will be prohibited, and Americans will be required to visit Cuba through tour groups.

Trump also reaffirmed US statutory embargo of Cuba.

Despite his effort to roll back parts of his predecessor Barack Obama’s cuba policy, Trump stopped short of closing US embassy in Cuba.

“The US embassy (in Cuba) will remain open in hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path,” he said.

The policy changes partially fulfilled a campaign promise by Trump and aligned him with hawkish Cuban-American Republicans in the US Congress.

In December 2014, in the most sweeping change in US-Cuban relations in five decades, Obama announced plans to normalise ties with Cuba in a move that quickly sparked much controversy in the US.

Since then, improvements have been made in US-Cuban diplomatic, social and commercial ties, with the US opening an embassy in Cuba, increasing flights to Cuba, and some US businesses expanding into the island nation for the first time in five decades.

America severed ties with Cuba in 1961, shortly after Fidel Castro launched a revolution that toppled a US-friendly government, and the two countries had been at loggerheads ever since.

IANS

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