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Trump to tighten Cuba travel rules, restrict business deals with military - draft memo

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 02:30

President Donald Trump on Friday will tighten rules on Americans travelling to Cuba and will restrict U.S. companies from doing business with Cuban enterprises controlled by the military, according to U.S. officials who have seen a draft presidential memorandum. Nathan Frandino reports.

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On the streets of Havana, tourism is booming, especially with Americans. The number of Americans traveling to Cuba has tripled in recent years... but that surge could be coming to an end. U.S. President Donald Trump will lay out his new Cuba policy on Friday, and U.S. officials say Trump will make clear the ban on American tourism in Cuba still stands. Tougher enforcement of current travel rules are on the horizon... much to the disappointment of bar owner Yuri Barroso. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OLD HAVANA PRIVATE BAR PROMOTER, YURI BARROSO, SAYING: "Eighty-five percent of our clients are Americans. Because of their power, they're the kinds of the world, as the saying goes. Now, if Trump decides to reduce how many come in for tourism, it will create chaos." Trump's policy will also target Cuba's Armed Forces Businesses Enterprises Group. The conglomerate, whose offices sit here in Havana, touches more than half of the economy, says Cuba Educational Travel president Collin Laverty. (SOUNDBITE) (English) COLLIN LAVERTY, PRESIDENT OF CUBAN EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL, SAYING: "You have military holding companies involved in everything from luggage transport at the airport to provision of goods and services at the port terminals for cruise ships, buses, rentals cars, hotels, marinas, etc. So they have an extensive reach throughout the economy. And if you're not allowed to do any business with military communities, essentially you're not allowed to do business with Cuba. " Trump wants to restrict U.S. companies from doing business with those military-linked enterprises. The Trump administration will justify the measures on human rights grounds, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson telling senators this week Cuba has fallen short. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYING: "Political opponents continue to be imprisoned, dissidents continue to be jailed, women in white continue to be harassed." The reversal comes after former President Barack Obama reached a diplomatic breakthrough with Cuba, reopening the U.S. embassy in 2015 and even visiting the country last year. Though for some Cubans, Trump's policies won't do much to dampen their spirit. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CUBAN MUSICIAN, BALOYA GUERRA, SAYING: "Whether the Americans are here or now, whether Trump's in power or not, we are Cubans. And Cubans will always be making music."

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Trump to tighten Cuba travel rules, restrict business deals with military - draft memo

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 02:30