Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

United States bishops call for engagement amid Trump's policy change on Cuba

United States bishops call for engagement amid Trump's policy change on Cuba

- While showing support for Trump's announced changes, Floridians were pessimistic the new policies will improve life for the Cuban people. First, Trump's new regulations will limit the "people-to-people" category of educational travel by restoring the requirement that visitors travel in groups with a licensed travel provider.

At the same time, Bishop Cantu suggested the president look to Pope Francis.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objected that the move would affect U.S. citizens' travel to Cuba and would hinder U.S. commerce with entities controlled by the Cuban government. "It is important to continue to promote dialogue and encounter between our neighboring nations and peoples". The new policy will keep US companies from doing direct financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military.

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"We will strongly restrict American dollars to the (Cuban) military", he said, but he didn't say how.

"When the previous Washington administration introduced substantive changes to its policy toward the island, we believed, not without foundation, that they were not so much a manifestation of goodwill as a reflection of the failure of a policy of dictation and sanctions", the Russian government said, before reaffirming its "unwavering" solidarity with Cuba.

Lawrence Ward, a partner at the worldwide law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Washington, said that while what Trump said "was a direct rebuke of the Obama administration's loosening of sanctions against Cuba", the announcement did not "make clear precisely what will change and how, but does emphasize that the United States does not want to enrich and empower the Cuban military". "I have continued to press both the Obama and Trump Administrations for the return of Joanne Chesimard, and am pleased that the president today made her return - in clear and absolute terms, as I have insisted - contingent upon any further USA engagement in Cuba".

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Marriott, which acquired Starwood past year to become the world's largest hotel company, received USA treasury approval to do business in Cuba in 2016. "The fruits of investment in Cuba should benefit individuals and families, and not the security forces". While officials said Mr. Trump's intent is "not to disrupt existing transactions that have [already] occurred", other US hotel companies may have missed the window to enter the Cuban market. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the Vatican, has long called for an end to the trade embargo, which has been in place for nearly 60 years.

Sen. Bob Menendez released a statement applauding Trump's call for Chesimard to be returned to the U.S.

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