In this file:
· Donald Trump announces new Cuba restrictions: 'We will not be silenced in the face of communist oppression'
· Many Cuban exiles embrace Trump policy but want more
· AFB Urges Congress to Exercise Caution Against Cuba
· NFU: U.S. Policy Reversal on Cuba Eliminates Opportunity for Family Farmers
· U.S. farmers slam Trump’s Cuba clampdown
· Trump’s Cuba Policy a Lost Opportunity for Agriculture?
· Trump Details New Cuba Policy
· Trump's Decision to Scale Back US-Cuba Relationship Sparks Contention with US Grains Council
Donald Trump announces new Cuba restrictions: 'We will not be silenced in the face of communist oppression'
The President calls Barack Obama's policy toward Cuba 'completely one sided', but will keep commercial flights and diplomatic relations open
Clark Mindock, Independent (UK)
June 16, 2017
New York | President Donald Trump has announced that his administration will be tightening regulations on Cuba in order to help the Cuban people, calling former President Barack Obama's deal to thaw relations with the country's government "terrible".
"We will not be silenced in the face of communist oppression any longer", Mr Trump said in front of an excited crowd in the Little Havana neighbourhood of Miami, Florida.
The President pledged to help the people of Cuba, and to ensure that American money spent in Cuba will go to the Cuban people instead of the Cuban government. He characterised the administration of Raul Castro as a "brutal, brutal regime", and spoke with a flourish describing the brutal crackdown and imprisonment of religious worshippers in the island country.
"Effective immediately, I am cancelling the last Administration's completely one sided deal with Cuba", Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump also described Cuba as a major security threat to the United States, saying that the country had shipped weapons to North Korea while allowing "cop killers" to seek refuge within its borders.
The “cop killer” Mr Trump was referring to is Joanne Chesimard, a former Black Panther who fled to Cuba in 1984 after escaping from a New Jersey prison, where she was serving a life sentence for murdering a state trooper.
Before signing the Cuba policy rollback, Mr Trump brought several Cuban dissidents onto the stage and allowed some of them to speak. One played the Star Spangled Banner on a violin as the president and crowd saluted or placed their hands over their hearts.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a one-time political foe who engaged in a heated primary run against the President last year for the Republican nomination, praised the President’s efforts to reform policy toward Cuba before he took the stage. Mr Rubio flew down to Miami with the President on Air Force One, and is said to have played a leading role in advising the White House on the new policies. Mr Rubio, a Cuban American, riled up the crowd with anti-communist rhetoric in both English and Spanish.
But, in a sense Mr Trump's policy changes are more rhetoric than action few immediate changes, and they are not intended to completely end the diplomatic relationship that former President Barack Obama established. That thaw was aimed at bringing to a close five decades of hostility.
Instead, Mr Trump has instructed his government to begin reviewing how they might change policy in order to meet the administration’s goals...
Many Cuban exiles embrace Trump policy but want more
By The Associated Press
via WTOP - June 16, 2017
MIAMI (AP) — Many Cuban exiles in Miami are embracing the changes President Donald Trump announced Friday to his predecessor’s policies of engagement with the communist island — but some want even more.
President Barack Obama’s restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing of decades-old travel and business restrictions had divided Cuban-Americans. Hard-line exiles agreed with Trump’s move to roll back some of the changes by restricting commerce with entities linked to Cuba’s military, restoring tougher travel rules and other moves in hopes of forcing Cuba toward democracy.
While Trump gave his speech, a hundred activists about evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the president chanted and held up signs outside the venue, the Manuel Artime Theater, named after a late political leader of Cuban exiles who launched the failed Bay of Pigs uprising in 1961.
Cuban-born poet Armando Valladares, who was imprisoned for 22 years by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, said at a weekly luncheon of Cuban exiles that he is vexed that not all of Obama’s changes were rolled back.
“President Trump promised that he would repeal everything Obama had done with Cuba,” said Valladares, who was appointed ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. “That would have been consistent with his campaign. I am not satisfied with the way this was done.”
Otto Rodriguez Villamonte, who arrived from Cuba in 1960, said he hadn’t read the details of the new plan or listened to Trump’s announcement but that he thought not much was changing...
AFB Urges Congress to Exercise Caution Against Cuba
The Poultry Site
19 June 2017
US - American farmers are likely to soon have a new market for agricultural products, owing to the White House’s decision to begin normalising relationships with Cuba.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall has urged the administration to exercise caution in rolling out any new restrictions on doing business with Cuba, fearing that this might limit the US's agricultural export opportunities.
Mr Duvall said, "We should be doing more, not less, to encourage US agricultural exports to Cuba. Our farmers and ranchers and the Cuban people would benefit from increased sales of high-quality, American-grown food and feed. The American Farm Bureau will continue to work with the administration and Congress to maintain and improve the conditions for agricultural trade with Cuba."
According to the AFB President...
U.S. Policy Reversal on Cuba Eliminates Opportunity for Family Farmers
Source: National Farmers Union (NFU)
June 16, 2017
WASHINGTON – During a speech today in Miami, Florida, President Donald Trump announced plans to roll back an Obama-era detente with Cuba, a move that will tighten export restrictions and create roadblocks in the distribution of goods, complicating agricultural trade with Cuba
Highlighting the economic opportunity that open Cuban markets would provide for family farmers and ranchers, NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“At a time when family farmers and ranchers are enduring a steep decline in net farm income, it is disheartening to see President Trump complicate an opportunity to expand U.S. agricultural markets. Today’s decision unfortunately sets us in a backwards trajectory, moving away from increasing market share in a country of 11 million people just 90 miles away from U.S. shores.
“NFU has been working for decades to break free from 50 years of failed policies that have created barriers to the Cuban market. We expected that the U.S. would finally tear down these self-imposed barriers when the Obama administration signaled the U.S. would work towards normalized relations with Cuba. Instead, it now seems the Trump administration is determined to look to the past instead of leading us into the future. We are very disappointed with this regressive approach.
“NFU will continue to work with congressional leadership to end the embargo and put in place fair trade relations with Cuba.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
U.S. farmers slam Trump’s Cuba clampdown
Farmers press forward with trade visit
By Karl Plume, Reuters
via Canadian Cattlemen - June 16, 2017
Chicago | Reuters — U.S. farm groups criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to retreat from his predecessor’s opening toward Cuba, saying it could derail huge increases in farm exports that totaled US$221 million last year.
A trade delegation from Minnesota, one of the largest U.S. agriculture states, vowed to carry on with its planned visit to Cuba next week. “We’re going to continue to beat the drum and let them (the Trump administration) know that trade is good for agriculture,” said Kevin Paap, a farmer in the delegation.
Trump signed a presidential directive on Friday rolling back parts of former President Barack Obama’s opening to the Communist-ruled country after a 2014 diplomatic breakthrough between the two former Cold War foes.
Farm groups saw the move as a step backward in what had been an improving trade relationship between the two countries which are just 145 km apart, even though agriculture is not directly targeted.
U.S. law exempts food from a decades-old embargo on U.S. trade with Cuba, but cumbersome rules on how transactions were executed have made deals difficult and costly.
Since Obama’s detente, substantial headway has been made, however, with shipments of U.S. corn and soybeans to Cuba soaring 420 per cent in 2016 from a year earlier to 268,360 tonnes, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows.
Through the first four months of 2017, total shipments of U.S. grain and soy were 142,860 tonnes, up from 49,090 tonnes during the same period of 2016...
Trump’s Cuba Policy a Lost Opportunity for Agriculture?
BY Joe Gangwish, KTIC (NE)
June 19, 2017
President Donald Trump’s Friday announcement on reinstating limits on travel to and business with Cuba may result in lost economic opportunities for corporations, small businesses, and farmers. The new policy will keep U.S. companies from doing direct financial transactions with companies controlled by the Cuban military. Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report says the opportunity for American agriculture to export more products to Cuba may suffer under the new policy.
The only buyer of U.S. agricultural goods in Cuba is called Alimport, a state-run entity that isn’t connected to the business arm of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, known as GAESA. Paul Johnson of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, says agriculture will largely not have to worry about that. “However,” he says, “if you look closer at GAESA, they do have companies in distribution, logistics, and housing, so the paths are going to cross.” GAESA also controls the Port of Mariel, which is where most American goods coming into Cuba are received...
Trump Details New Cuba Policy
BY Associated Press/Senator Moran's Office
via KTIC (NE) - June 16, 2017
President Donald Trump has announced a series of changes to the Obama-era Cuba policy and is challenging the Cuban government to negotiate a better deal.
Trump says in a speech in Miami that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Cuba until it releases all political prisoners and respects the Cuban people’s right to freedom of assembly and expression.
Trump is also calling for the legalization of all political parties, and free and internationally supervised elections.
The president says his new policy will also restrict the flow of American dollars to the military, security and intelligence services that are the core of the government led by Raul Castro.
He has challenged Cuba to “come to the table” to strike a deal that serves both country’s interests.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today issued the following statement after the President’s visit to Cuba:
“While I support the administration’s efforts to reevaluate our trading relationships to make certain we put America first, for Kansas’ economy and for our ag community, putting America first means exporting what we produce to countries across the globe. Cuba is a natural market for our nation’s farmers and ranchers, and when we don’t sell to Cuba, another country does. In addition, increased engagement with the United States empowers the Cuban people. I remain invested in finding ways to increase trade with Cuba rather than cut off relationships that have the potential to create new jobs, bring in revenue and boost our national economy.”
Sen. Moran’s background on Cuba trade policy:
Trump's Decision to Scale Back US-Cuba Relationship Sparks Contention with US Grains Council
Oklahoma Farm Report
16 Jun 2017
A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight on changes to Cuba policy, announced Friday:
“The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has worked in Cuba for nearly two decades to help capture grain demand and develop its livestock industry within the confines of U.S. policy. While the announcement today will make our efforts in Cuba more difficult - and almost certainly cost U.S. corn farmers sales in the short term - we have every intention of continuing our work there to build long-term, mutually-beneficial trade.
“In the first eight months of this marketing year, Cuba purchased more than 250,000 metric tons (9.8 million bushels) of corn from the United States, about 30 percent of their total demand. This shows both that Cubans want our product when its competitive to other origins and that we have significant room for growth given the right policy environment.
“The changes announced today are concerning because they could cut off these near-term sales while also stymieing the economic development that will drive long-term demand growth. Neither of those outcomes is favorable for the U.S. ag sector or the Cuban people, who do not have access to sufficient meat, milk and eggs...