HAVANA, June 3th The re-normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, one of the signature accomplishments of Barack Obama, could be reversed by President Donald Trump in a matter of weeks.
Former President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro overturned decades of diplomatic hostility, economic and business restrictions, and constraints on travel between the two countries that had its roots in the Cold War.
However multiple congressional and advocacy organization sources say the Trump administration is now looking to push an executive order that would change a number of regulations that could affect American citizens’ increased access to the island.
Changes could see the reinstatement of caps or outright banning of imports from Cuba and reconfirming the licensing structure that would rescind the system that has allowed for easier travel to the country.
According to ABC, alterations could also involve ‘redefining the what it means to be a part of the Cuban government or military which could affect business operations because most contracts are made with the government.’
If interpreted broadly, the proposal could shut down most travel to Cuba because the military controls the ports, airlines and a majority of hotels, said John Kavulich, senior policy adviser to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.
Although Kavulich said that is ‘unlikely to happen.’
Regulations for U.S. ‘businesses interested in working in the Cuban market’ could also be set up in the order. Sources have learned some of the proposals could be pushed formally this month, with some of the related changes taking place immediately.
Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart said: ‘I believe a drastically different deal with Cuba is imminent,’ and that changes were not going to be in ‘another six months’ but sooner.
The plans could face a stumbling block in the form of the 54 Republican senators who support lifting the U.S. trade embargo entirely.
However, others such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Diaz-Balart, hardliners on Cuba, have met to discuss the deal and are heavily involved in pushing Trump to eliminate or weaken Obama’s changes.
There may be push back from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and states that export agricultural products to Cuba, as well as from U.S. intelligence agencies that have benefited from improved intelligence sharing.
President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 90 years when he went to the Caribbean island last year to meet with leader Raul Castro, the younger brother of Fidel.
The Democrat oversaw a significant thawing of relations between the two nations during his two terms in the White House.