WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday will sign a directive to reverse parts of the Obama administration’s legacy of easing sanctions on Cuba by reinstating some restrictions on travel and commerce, senior White House officials said Thursday.
“The president vowed to reverse the Obama administration policies toward Cuba that have enriched the Cuban military regime and has increased the repression on the island,” a White House official said on the condition of anonymity.
“It is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping,” the official said, citing a pledge Trump made to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association as the group endorsed him for president during the campaign last year.
Trump’s policy aims to shift the flow of U.S. money from the Cuban military that controls much of the economy to the emerging private sector. It seeks to force Cuba to hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, and allow political and religious freedom.
Yet the officials acknowledged Trump would not completely reverse President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba, saying, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
The directive still leaves much of Obama’s policy in place, including diplomatic relations and reopened embassies, the ability of Cuban Americans to travel and send money to family, and the congressionally mandated trade embargo.
Trump also will not reinstate the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which allowed Cubans who reached U.S. soil to stay. Obama ended it on Jan. 12.
The Trump directive will try to police travel to Cuba to stop illegal tourism, but, officials said, Americans traveling to Cuba can still bring back cigars.