Cubans decry US move on ties
HAVANA: Cubans said they were crestfallen to be returning to an era of frostier relations with the US as news spread that US president Donald Trump was set to revert parts of the historic detente with Cuba.
Trump is tightening rules on Americans travelling to communist-run Cuba and significantly restricting US firms from doing business with Cuban enterprises controlled by the military, White House officials said.
A landmark agreement twoand-a-half years ago between former US president Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro moved to normalise relations between the former Cold War foes.
The deal saw more US tourists thanks to eased restriction, creating demand for more BnBs, restaurants, taxis and tour guides in the fledgling private sector.
But critics say the opening failed to improve rights on the island. Trump will justify his partial reversal of Obama’s measures on those grounds, the White House officials said, and some Cuban dissidents back his tougher stance, saying repression had worsened since the detente.
Other dissidents say rolling back the detente is not the solution. “It will probably not have any benefit in terms of human rights,” said Eliecer Avila, the leader of the opposition youth group Somos Mas.
The Cuban government has withstood the US trade embargo for more than a half century and will not make any political concessions to the US due to economic pressure, said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat. – Reuters