President Donald Trump is expected to make a substantial announcement about U.S.-Cuba relations on Friday. According to NPR, both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Representative Mario Diaz-Balart have been working closely with Trump to restrict both travel and trade in Cuba. NPR is also reporting that one of the new restrictions expected to be announced on Friday is limiting trips to the country to only one time a year. This change could have heartbreaking impact on Cuban-Americans with family still on the island.
“Imagine, your mother is sick in Cuba,” James Williams, the president of Engage Cuba, which is a non-profit group of private companies and organizations to help open ties between the U.S. and Cuba, told NPR. “You might have to decide between going to see her in the hospital bed before she dies or going to the funeral. And that is just tragic.”
But those in favor of restricting some travel and trade to Cuba argue that restricting the amount of foreign money going into the island will only motivate the Cuba to make changes to its government. According to Miami Herald, many Cuban dissidents believe it’s the right time to apply pressure to the Castro regime to implement policies that will benefit the Cuban people, not the Cuban government.
“We believe that this is the moment for a maximum reversal of some policies that only benefit the Castro regime and does very little or nothing for the oppressed people. It is time to impose strong sanctions on the regime of Raúl Castro,” Cuban dissident leader José Daniel Ferrer wrote in an open letter to Trump. He added: “The time has come to impose strong sanctions to Raul Castro’s regime, and also to that of Nicolás Maduro. Because of its high position in the free world, the U.S. should not remain indifferent to the crimes committed by both of these regimes against their people.”
Pew Research Center did a study to gauge the American sentiment about the United States’ diplomatic relationship with Cuba. It found that Americans overwhelmingly approve attempts to repair the relationship with the island country rather than isolating it.
There hasn’t been any recent implication that Trump will reenact the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ law, which gave Cuban nationals legal residency if they reached U.S. soil.