Treasury Sheds Light on Trump's Cuba Rollback Targeting Obama's Legacy... Again

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) expects to implement changes to its Cuba sanctions policy within the coming months following President Donald Trump's announcement of the changes on Friday, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

In December 2014, then-President Barack Obama announced that the United States would normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities. 

The two countries have reopened embassies in their respective capitals and have signed a dozen of cooperation deals since then.

In January, Obama issued an executive order ending a policy that had allowed Cubans who set foot on US soil to remain in the United States, unlike those intercepted at sea who are routinely returned to the island.

"OFAC will implement the Treasury-specific changes via amendments to its Cuban Assets Control Regulations… OFAC expects to issue its regulatory amendments in the coming months. 

The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued," the statement noted.

The Treasury added that the US businesses already engaged with Cuba would be allowed to continue doing business after President Donald Trump changes the country’s policy.

"Any Cuba-related commercial engagement that includes direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those commercial engagements were i[already] n place," OFAC said in updated guidance on its website.

OFAC said the decision was intended to avoid negative impacts on US businesses engaging in lawful commercial opportunities.

"The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel," the Treasury Department said in updated guidance on its website.

Trump’s policy changes may please the "hardline Cuban exiles" who supported Trump in winning Florida during the 2016 US Presidential Election, the Miami Herald reported on Friday.