President Trump’s announcement today indicates how far the Cuba policy debate has moved, despite intense pressure from scarce congressional hardliners. Many of the gains of normalization remain intact. At best, this is a partial victory for those who hoped to reverse increased bilateral ties. However, the Cuba Study Group reiterates its view that the completely free flow of people, ideas, information, and goods helps, rather than hinders, the cause of meaningful reform on the island. We therefore urge President Trump to reject the half-measures he proposed today and pursue a policy of full normalization with the island.

Restricting U.S. travel isolates Cubans from knowledge of American political, economic, and human rights norms. Also, it is tendentious to purportedly champion freedom in Cuba by limiting the freedoms of U.S. citizens. The U.S. does not impose similar travel restrictions on any other country, including North Korea and Iran. 81% of Americans, 75% of Cuban-Americans, and virtually all Cubans support the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. Claiming to support a “better deal” for Americans, Cubans, and Cuban-Americans, while ignoring their desires, is highly disingenuous.

Restricting U.S. travel as the Trump administration has proposed will also harm Cuban private business owners far more than the government. Even if not broadly applied, the threat of further enforcement will have negative repercussions on Cubans on the island. Individual U.S. travelers utilize privately-rented rooms at a higher rate than visitors from any other country. Beyond lodging, many small businesses (restaurants, shops, etc.) depend on U.S and other visitors for their livelihood. Limiting people-to-people travel once again to organized groups will significantly impact the Cuban people the President says his measures are intended to support. Moreover, contrary to the stated policy’s objectives, this measure will push remaining U.S. travelers into tours overseen by the Cuban government, rather than allowing real paths for citizen-to-citizen exchange.

President Trump should narrowly interpret the prohibition against trade with organizations tied to the Cuban military. There is a vast difference between a Fortune 500 company forming a joint venture with the Cuban military and a U.S. humanitarian worker buying a water bottle at a government-run store. Regardless, the task of enforcement and oversight will be onerous. We note the irony of a Republican administration burdening Americans with regulations of little clarity or use.

The limited scope of the review’s conclusions represents an admission of defeat by previously intransigent hardliners. In statements defending the new policy, they adopted pro-normalization positions they once scorned: the importance of continued diplomatic engagement and of supporting Cuba’s private sector. Nonetheless, the tone of hostility in the President’s address may jeopardize crucial government-to-government ties on issues of mutual concern—counterterrorism, counter- narcotics, and migration cooperation—that administration officials ostensibly want to preserve. We urge President Trump to pursue a policy of full normalization that benefits the U.S. economy, serves U.S. interests, and can help place Cubans on a path to a better future. 



Recent Articles

Date Title
6/30/17 Under Trump’s revised policy, black Cubans will get left behind, again
Alejandro de la Fuente, Miami Herald
6/29/17 Cuban migrants stranded in Panama live and work secretly
Mario J. Pentón, Miami Herald
6/29/17 First Tampa to Cuba Carnival cruise leaves today
Avery Cotton, WFLA
6/28/17 Does the Cuban Military Really Control Sixty Percent of the Economy?
William M. Leogrande, Huff Post
6/28/17 Southwest Airlines to Scale Down Cuba Flights
Reuters, New York Times
6/27/17 New Trump Rules on Cuba Travel Leaves Winners and Losers
Andrea Rodriguez and Beth J. Harpaz, U.S. News and World Report
6/27/17 Can Trump Compete With Obama on Cuba?
Jorge Dominguez, New York Times
6/27/17 US airlines plan next move after Trump announces new policy toward Cuba
Hatzel Vela, WLRN
6/26/17 Cuba debate has come too far to relapse now
Andrew Otazo, Sun Sentinel
6/25/17 Could 1 million more Cubans be deemed ineligible for remittances?
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
6/22/17 What President Trump’s new Cuba policy means for American business
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
6/22/17 Trump Panders on Cuba, Preferring Cold War Over Progress
Doug Bandow, The American Conservative
6/22/17 Minnesota Will Still Engage With Cuba Despite Trump Setback
Sarah Marsh, US News and World Report
6/21/17 Director of U.S. office that oversees Radio, TV Martí resigns
Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
6/21/17 New U.S. Cuba Policy is Unpopular, Just Like President Trump
Sofia Lotto Persia, Newsweek
6/21/17 Former CANF President Alberto Hernandez dies at 84
Mario J. Pentón, Miami Herald
6/21/17 Handing Cuba back to Russia is the wrong move for the US
Max Brooks, The Hill
6/20/17 Trump Policy Could Cut Remittances to a Million Cuban Families
William M. Leogrande and Marguerite Rose Jiménez, Huff Post
6/20/17 Capitalism Should Be Our Weapon of Choice in Cuba
Rand Paul, Reason
6/20/17 Trump's Rollback on Cuba: The Consequences of Undoing the Rapprochement
Michael J. Bustamante, Foreign Affairs
6/20/17 Trump's Cuba Travel Policy Leaves Heads Scratching
Andrew Bender, Forbes
6/19/17 Can Cuba count on America as a partner or an adversary?
Micho F. Spring, Boston Globe
6/19/17 Cubans seeking status stuck in legal limbo
Rick Jervis, USA Today
6/19/17 Cuba calls Trump speech on island 'grotesque spectacle'
Francois Murphy, Reuters
6/18/17 Cuba to President Trump: We need to continue to cooperate and coexist
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
6/18/17 Cuba's small businesses say they will suffer under Trump's policy changes
Alan Gomez, USA Today
6/18/17 Former Obama aide on Cuba: Trump, GOP lawmakers don’t believe in freedom
Max Greenwood, The Hill
6/18/17 Panama offers stranded Cuban migrants multiple entry visas if they return to island
Mario J. Pentón, Miami Herlad
6/16/17 Current Record
6/15/17 Trump recasts Cuba policy, takes harder line than Obama on military, travel
Patricia Mazzei and Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
6/15/17 Prominent Free Market Proponents Discourage Trump From Cuba Policy Rollback
Alex Pfeiffer, The Daily Caller
6/15/17 Inside Oval Office, Rubio and Diaz-Balart pushed Trump to crack down on Cuba
Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald
6/15/17 Trump to face protests over rollback of Obama's Cuba opening
Alan Gomez, USA Today
6/14/17 Putin’s stake in President Trump’s decision On Cuba policy
Patrick Leahy, The Hill
6/14/17 Trump’s Conflicts of Interest in Cuba
Carolyn Kenney and John Norris, Center for American Progress
6/14/17 5 Reasons Rolling Back Cuba Policies Is Bad For U.S. Business
Robert Donachie, The Daily Caller
6/14/17 Trump’s policy changes will give new ammunition to Cuba’s dictatorship
Andrés Oppenheimer, Miami Herald
6/13/17 U.S.-Cuba policy must now move forward, not back
Mike Fernandez, Miami Herald
6/13/17 Don’t Reverse Cuba Policy
Human Rights Watch
6/13/17 High on Cuba policy proposal: restricting U.S. business deals with Cuba’s military-run entities
Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
6/12/17 Drug smuggling a risk if US relations with Cuba shift, officials say
Patrick Oppmann, CNN
6/12/17 Poll: Most GOP Against Changing Cuba Policy
Curt Mills, US News
6/12/17 Your Trip to Havana Might Have to Wait. What Trump’s policies for Cuba will mean for human rights.
Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, Amnesty International
6/11/17 Congressional Republicans send letters to Trump and administration urging Cuba remain open
Serena Marshall, ABC News
6/11/17 Don’t the Cuban People Have it Tough Enough?
Jeff Flake, Medium
6/11/17 If Trump Reverses Course With Cuba, ‘It Would Be A Gift To Putin’
Robert Donachie, The Daily Caller
6/10/17 Letter by the Cuba Study Group to President Trump on the Cuba Policy Review Files
6/8/17 Did Rubio trade the integrity of U.S. for a Cuba-policy shift from Trump?
Fabiolo Santiago, Miami Herald
6/8/17 Trump might ditch the historic US-Cuba opening for slivers of support in Washington
Tim Fernholz, Quartz
6/7/17 U.S.-Cuba policy looms at aviation industry conference
Alana Wise and Brad Haynes, Reuters
6/7/17 Luxury hotels arrive in Cuba despite fears Trump may hurt tourism boom
Sarah Marsh, Reuters
6/5/17 Russia, Cuba, Comey, and Trump
William M. LeoGrande, Huffington Post
6/5/17 How Cuba policy, and its inevitable drama, ensnared Trump’s White House
Patricia Mazzei, Nora Gámez Torres, Anita Kumar, Franco Ordoñez, Miami Herald
6/5/17 Undoing All the Good Work on Cuba
The Editorial Board, New York Times
6/4/17 An old affliction haunts The Cuban: Exile politics and divisions
Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald
6/4/17 If Trump reverses the U.S. Cuba policy, airlines and cruise lines could lose $3.5 billion
Chabeli Herrera, Miami Herald
6/1/17 Cuban Parliament Approves Communist Party Roadmap
Marc Frank and Sarah Marsh, Reuters
6/1/17 Curbelo supports tax on agricultural exports to Cuba
Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
6/1/17 Cuban Entrepreneurs Start First Private Business Group
Andrea Rodriguez, U.S. News and World Report