President Donald Trump announced changes to America’s policy regarding Cuba on Friday, doubling down on his campaign promise to take a tougher stance on relations with the communist country.
“We will enforce the ban on tourism. We will enforce the embargo. We will take concrete steps to ensure that investments flow directly to the people so they can open private businesses and begin to build their country’s great, great future—a country of great potential,” he said during a speech in Miami.
He added that the U.S. will restrict American dollars flowing to Cuba’s military, security and intelligence services that are the core of the Castro regime.
However, Trump said his administration is open to crafting a new pact with Cuba and President Raul Castro, if the country takes solid strides toward improving the lives of its own people, in addition to returning criminals and fugitives to the U.S.
“When Cuba is ready to take concrete steps to these ends, we will be ready, willing and able to come to the table to negotiate that much better deal for Cubans, for Americans … a deal that’s fair. And a deal that makes sense. Our embassy remains open in the hope that our countries can forge a much stronger and better path,” the President said.
The Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, leading to both countries opening embassies in each other’s capitals. Eventually, former President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the communist country in almost a century. Trump criticized the Obama administration’s attempts to thaw relations with Cuba, saying the deal was “terrible and misguided” and that it only enriched the communist Castro regime.