In a move that represents the latest blow to former President Barack Obama’s toxic legacy, President Donald Trump will reportedly heed the advice of a bipartisan coalition of senators and reverse the softening of relations with Cuba that Obama kicked off in December 2014.
The so-called Cuban Thaw will soon go back on ice thanks to efforts by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), all three of whom have reportedly been working behind the scenes to once again distance the United States from Cuba.
“The Trump Administration has been ‘ready’ since February 2017 to announce changes, but issues unrelated to Cuba have intervened,” John Kavulich, a member of the nonpartisan U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, told the Daily Caller.
Obama worked alongside Cuban President Raul Castro to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, a process that Democrats hailed but Republicans met with disdain. The thaw opened up travel from the U.S. to Cuba, re-established diplomatic relations, and lifted strict regulations about doing business in the island nation.
Rubio and Diaz-Balart, both of whom have Cuban ancestry, have long maintained that Trump would restore a hardline approach to dealing with Cuba.
“I have no doubt that you’re going to see in short order a different policy,” Diaz-Balart told The National Journal, adding that he is “1,000 percent sure the president is going to deliver on his commitment. Rubio echoed similar views on Twitter, where he opined back in March that Trump will “treat [Cuba] like a dictatorship.”
While the White House has refused to confirm or deny the development, sources close to the matter claimed that Trump would announce the changes in a June speech in Miami, where the president would unveil a new approach to travel restrictions and a system focused on “discouraging transactions with entities controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of the Republic of Cuba.”