Trump weighing sanctions against Cuba

US President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, June 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, June 12, 2017. 

US President Donald Trump is considering sanctions against Cuba in a bid to scale back former President Barack Obama’s policy shift towards the southern neighbor, sources say.

Trump’s aides have been working on a series of new limits on American travel to Cuba while also exploring new partnership restrictions that would  cut off money flows to the Cuban military, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed officials outside of the White House.

The new policy is likely to impact American hotels and other companies that have partnered up with Cuban firms partially owned by the military.

American citizens heading to Cuba are expected to undergo stricter vetting. They should also formally explain the benefits of their trip.

Although the final plan had yet to be decided, the report noted that Washington would make up its mind ahead of Trump’s stop in Miami on Friday.

The possible policy reversal has already prompted debates, with analysts warning that it might directly affect American airlines and shipping companies.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who supported Obama’s Cuba policy, warned that additional travel restrictions would be problematic.

Cuban President Raul Castro (R) raises US President Barack Obama’s hands. (File Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio, another Republican and a fierce critic of Cuban President Raul Castro, has thrown his weight behind Trump.

Castro has strongly criticized Trump, accusing him of undertaking policies that are “irrational” and “egotistical.”

During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump threatened to “terminate” deals that the Obama administration made with Cuba.

Obama re-established diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015 and loosened some restrictions on doing business in the country during his tenure in the White House.

Trump’s predecessor also offered illegal Cuban immigrants a path to legal status and opened travel to the island nation.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused on Monday to describe Trump’s plans for Cuba.

John Kavulich, from the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, said in late May that the Trump White House “has been ready since February 2017 to announce changes, but issues unrelated to Cuba have intervened.

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