Republicans divided as Trump reverses some Obama Cuba policy

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To fulsome applause, Trump said the United States would not lift sanctions against the Cuban regime until "all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled". Still, Cuba said it is willing to continue "respectful dialogue" with on topics of mutual interest.

Trump's address in Miami announced changes in the United States' policy toward Cuba after the Obama administration chose to normalize relations with the island nation following a decades-long freeze of diplomatic ties. "Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba".

The announcement of President Trump -it adds- goes against the support of most of the US public opinion, including the Cuban emigration in that country, to the calls for fully lifting the blockade and establishing normal relations.

"The government of Cuba denounces the new measures toughening the embargo" imposed since 1962, according to a statement read on state television. Hard-line exiles agreed with Trump's move to roll back some of the changes by restricting commerce with entities linked to Cuba's military, restoring tougher travel rules and other moves in hopes of forcing Cuba toward democracy.

The President said it was hard to think of a policy "that makes less sense than the prior administration's bad and misguided deal" with the "brutal" Castro government.

The changes that Trump has announced will have an impact on the Cuban economy within three months, once the new regulations are put in place.

Earlier Friday, Trump vowed to overhaul Obama's policies. "Cuba is just 90 miles off the US coast", the release states.

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"More travel, more communications access, and more dialogue with Cuba are the way forward for human rights in Cuba", Amnesty International wrote in a blog post, adding that Obama's trip to Cuba last year opened the door to "scrutiny and transparency" of human rights on the island for the first time in almost 10 years.

While tourism to Cuba is banned by USA law, the Obama administration had been allowing people to travel to Cuba as part of "people to people" educational trips for visitors, a popular classification that a White House official said was "ripe for abuse" by those looking for beach vacations.

While anti-Castro conservatives hailed Trump's partial roll-back of President Barack Obama's detente, a number of other GOP lawmakers, particularly from farm states, criticized the change as misguided and isolationist. It also regretted "a reversal in relations between the two countries".

Cuban state newspaper Granma, a mouthpiece of the regime, said Trump's measures heralded "a return to the Cold War". Trump cast that as a sign the US still wanted to engage with Cuba in hopes of forging "a much stronger and better path". "We're the ones who are hurt", said Camilo Diaz, a 44-year-old waiter in a private restaurant in Havana. "The previous administration's easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people", Trump said, "they only enrich the Cuban regime".

Global human rights groups say, however, that reinstating a US policy of isolating the island could make the situation worse by empowering Cuban hardliners. "On the other hand, we think we've achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba and its treatment of people", he said, "and it has little incentive to change that".

Among the few Cubans on the island who praised Trump was Berta Soler, a leader of the dissident group Ladies in White who said she was prevented by the government from flying to Miami to attend the speech in person.

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