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Russia says Trump is using 'Cold War rhetoric' on Cuba

23 June 2017

A mid-June Trump visit has been rumored since Memorial Day, when word of the Cuba policy rewrite began trickling from alarmed backers of former President Barack Obama's reengagement approach toward the communist island.

Signing a new National Security Presidential Memorandum, Mr. Trump announced stricter application of the rules under which Americans can travel to Cuba.

Cuba's government slammed President Donald Trump for his "hostile rhetoric" during a speech Friday that it said took "a backward step in the relationship between the two countries". He said he based the measures largely on human rights grounds, calling on Cuba to release political prisoners and hold free and fair elections. "Now it turns out that the anti-Cuban discourse is still in high demand", the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

This flowed over into last year's campaign, with Trump vowing to terminate the agreement.

"Our new policy begins with strictly enforcing U.S. law", he told a cheering crowd in Miami's Little Havana, the spiritual home of the Cuban-American community. "Officially, today, they are rejected".

"I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba", President Donald Trump said during a speech in Florida.

British travellers hoping to combine the United States and Cuba on the same trip face much tighter restrictions.

His critics, however, have questioned why his administration is now singling out Cuba for human rights abuses but downplaying the issue in other parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, a close USA ally Trump visited last month where political parties and protests are banned. United States airlines and cruise ships are to still be allowed to serve the island 145km south of Florida.

"The new course announced by the U.S. president towards Cuba returns us to the already nearly forgotten rhetoric of the Cold War style", the statement reads.

However, individual "people-to-people" trips by Americans to Cuba, allowed by Obama for the first time in decades, will again be prohibited. And the USA government will police other trips to ensure travelers are pursuing a "full-time schedule of educational exchange activities".

"We remain committed to advocating for policies that enable carriers to facilitate travel and trade and increase access to more markets and destinations globally".

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In response, Sessions claimed that the President's executive order is "well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe". It does not identify these nationals as contributors to active conflict or as those responsible for insecure country conditions.

This new policy aims to limit transactions with GAESA, run by Gen.Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, Raul Castro's son-in-law.

Trump said his policy is created to isolate the Cuban Castro regime.

President Donald Trump on Friday ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and a clampdown on USA business dealings with the island's military, saying "with God's help a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve".

Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republican, Cuban-American hardliners, lobbied Trump hard toward reversal.

"It doesn't make any sense", Lee said.

"We will assume any risk and remain firm and secure in building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation", Castro said in a statement.

The Web 20Minutos headlines: Cuba reacts and rejects measures announced by Trump: they will not achieve their goal of weakening the Revolution or bending the Cuban people.

"Having this opportunity supports our belief that the development of the Cuban economy is as beneficial to IL farmers as it is to Cuba".

The Cuban leader added that "the USA is not in a position to give us lessons", voicing "serious concerns" on the "numerous cases of murders, brutality and police abuses, the exploitation of child labour, racial discrimination and restrictions on healthcare services".

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Castro were restoring ties.

Weissenstein reported from Havana and Lederman from Washington.

Russia says Trump is using 'Cold War rhetoric' on Cuba