WASHINGTON – The White House confirmed on Thursday that President Donald Trump will travel to Miami later this week to announce the result of his administration’s review of US policy toward Cuba, as reported by assorted US media outlets.
The president will travel to Miami on Friday to “make an announcement on US-Cuba policy,” said deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at a press conference at which television cameras were not allowed.
When asked whether Trump is planning to announce the naming of an ambassador to Cuba anytime soon, Sanders said that she was not certain what the plans are on that subject or whether it would be included in the president’s Friday announcement.
Several US media outlets had reported the date and site for the announcement of the result of the review of Washington’s Cuba policy that Trump promised when he took office, a policy that to date has included greater rapprochement with the communist island and was initiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
In his search for votes in Florida during the presidential campaign, Trump toughened his stance on Cuba and promised to rescind many of Obama’s measures vis-a-vis Havana unless the Castro regime were to restore assorted freedoms to the Cuban people.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier this week at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump wants to allow business activity and trade with Cuba to continue as much as possible because he appreciates the benefits that this opening provides for the Cuban people.
However, the administration wants to ensure that it is not involuntarily or directly providing financial help to the Raul Castro regime and that it is not violating the law vis-a-vis sanctions on Cuba imposed by the US Congress over the past half century, Tillerson said on Tuesday.
“As we’re developing these business relationships and as we’re enjoying the benefits on the economic and development side, are we inadvertently or directly providing financial support to the regime? Our view is we are,” Tillerson said.
“And the question is ... how do we bring that back into compliance with longstanding statutory obligations?” he added.
It is anticipated that Trump will also urge the Cuban government to improve its respect for human rights, according to information provided by Tillerson.
“We think we have achieved very little in terms of changing the behavior of the regime in Cuba .... and it has little incentive today to change that,” the secretary of state said.