President Donald Trump is expected to travel to Miami this Friday to unveil his administration’s revised U.S.-Cuba policy, the Miami Herald reports.
The location of the event has not yet been announced, but Miami has long been an enclave for Cuban exiles. Unveiling the policy changes there suggests that it’ll please the hardline Cuban-Americans whose support helped Trump win the Presidential vote in Florida.
Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly attend Trump’s speech. Pence will be in Florida for a Central America conference held on Thursday and Friday at U.S. Southern Command and Florida International University. Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly will also take part in the Central America conference, but it is unclear if they will be present for Trump’s speech.
Trump is expected to roll back parts of the previous administration’s policies that relaxed relations with Cuba. U.S. officials said he is likely to impose sanctions on officials who are believed to be oppressing dissidents and denounce the Castro regime for its human rights abuses.
Those revisions have been heavily endorsed by Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the only Republican members of Congress from Florida to back Trump during his campaign for the presidency. Their support has put pressure on the White House. Rubio is reportedly working closely with the administration on the upcoming changes.
“I am absolutely confident that the president is going to deliver on his word, on his commitments,” Rep. Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald. “He was very clear that he thought that President Obama in essence got nothing in exchange for the concession he gave to the Castro regime.”
Trump also received an endorsement from the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association two weeks before the election, after he pledged to “reverse” the previous administration’s Cuba policy. Trump referenced that promise in a statement he made after Fidel Castro’s death, and that gives anti-Castro hardliners hope that a policy shift is imminent.
“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights,” Trump said. “I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”
Several members of Congress who favor Obama’s changes have urged the president to keep pushing for closer U.S.-Cuba ties. Last week, seven congressmen who represent districts that see serious commercial, industrial, and agricultural opportunities in Cuba sent Trump a letter urging him to reconsider revising Obama’s policies. The lawmakers argued that the U.S. has a national security interest in maintaining a foothold in the island.
“For instance, Russia is already strengthening its ties with Cuba, supporting infrastructure investment and resuming oil shipments for the first time this century,” they wrote. “China is also expanding its footprint in Cuba as well. China is now Cuba’s largest trading partner and heavily investing in providing telecommunications services, among other investments, on the island.”