President Trump plans to curb former President Barack Obama's efforts to open relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the Los Angeles Times reports. The decision would pinch off a boom in American tourism that has centered on Havana and other Cuban cities, although Trump is expected to leave open the U.S. embassy, allow Cuban-Americans to send remittances to their families, and continue to allow special immigration status for Cubans.
Urging on Trump are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), both Cuban-American lawmakers. In particular, Axios describes the White House's policy to be a "big win" for Rubio "who tutored Trump on the issue (including in debates), and kept prodding for this announcement." Trump is expected to make the announcement on Friday from Miami, where Rubio is likely to join him.
Supporters of Obama's policy note that "normalization was never going to create democracy in Cuba overnight," in the words of Tomas Bilbao, the founder of a consulting firm that actively promotes U.S.-Cuban rapprochement. "The idea was to increase the flow of people, resources, and ideas and make the Cuban people less reliant on the Cuban state." The Los Angeles Times adds that the Trump policy "could allow Russia and China to more easily step in to fill the void."
But Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, who heads a Cuban opposition group, argued in a letter to Trump that "the United States must continue to be the first defender of those who lack rights and freedoms in the world."