'It Doesn't Make Any Sense': Rep. Barbara Lee on Trump Canceling Obama's Deal With Cuba | NBC Bay Area
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'It Doesn't Make Any Sense': Rep. Barbara Lee on Trump Canceling Obama's Deal With Cuba

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    It's being called a major rollback in United States policy toward Cuba. President Donald Trump on Friday shifted from President Barack Obama's policies with the communist country. Ian Cull reports.

    (Published Friday, June 16, 2017)

    It's being called a major rollback in United States policy toward Cuba.

    President Donald Trump on Friday shifted from President Barack Obama's policies with the communist country.

    "Effective immediately I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba," Trump said Friday.

    Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said it puts the relations back decades.

    The change will make it harder to travel to and do business with Cuba. Though it is not a complete reversal of Obama's policy, Lee said the change will hurt both countries.

    "It doesn't make any sense," Lee said. "Why would you go back to a policy that has failed for 55 years?"

    Lee is disappointed the president followed through with a campaign promise and rolled back policies she has fought hard for as a member of the Congressional Cuba Working Group.

    "Given whatever difficulties we have and they have, we should be able to work it out through normal diplomatic dialogue and trade relations," Lee said.

    Trump said his policy is designed to isolate the Cuban Castro regime.

    "We will not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer," Trump said.

    Tourists will still be able to travel to Cuba, but it will be harder and restricted compared to the Obama policies. Americans will be prohibited from spending money at businesses or hotels owned by the Cuban military, which are common in the country.

    Lee said it will hurt American jobs created through eased restrictions and private Cuban businesses.

    "We're pushing back, but we need the public to push back," Lee said. "As we say, 'stay woke,' this is a time to be vigilant, stay woke, and have your members of Congress sign onto our bills."

    But Florida Senator Marco Rubio, applauding the changes, tweeted: "If Cuban people are hurt it will be because the Castro government doesn't allow them to own their own business, not because of the new policy."

    The policies are not expected to take effect for three months, and could take longer. Lee said she will be working on legislation to block it, which may be difficult in a Republican-led Congress.

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