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Hundreds of Cubans and visitors from other countries gather across the street from the newly reopened U.S. Embassy to observe the flag-raising ceremony August 14, 2015 in Havana, Cuba.
U.S. President Donald Trump is under pressure to maintain the country’s fragile détente with Cuba despite indications that he could strike an icy tone when he announces a policy update later this week.
Non-partisan activist group Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) has urged the president to rethink his hitherto hard-line stance on America’s former cold war foe, claiming that the cutting of improved relations would do nothing to help Cuban citizens or serve the U.S.’s national interests.
“A rollback of recent progress in U.S.-Cuba relations would be out of step with the views of the majority of the American public—both Republican and Democrat—and would threaten the significant gains reaped by the American people and the Cuban people since the restoration of U.S.-Cuba ties,” the CDA’s executive director Emily Mendrala said in a press announcement Tuesday.
“President Trump has the opportunity to build on this progress and, in so doing, advance the U.S. national interest and the interests of the Cuban people. As the President well knows, you can’t get a ‘better deal’ by walking away from the negotiating table.”
President Trump is due to travel to Miami on Friday, where he is expected to give his administration’s position on U.S.-Cuba ties. He has previously been critical of Cuba, denouncing President Raul Castro’s government for what he sees as human rights abuses against Cuban citizens. His stance has, however, become less clear in recent months.
An official for the U.S. State Department told CNBC on Wednesday that the administration has undertaken a review of U.S. policy towards Cuba, but it remains ongoing and additional details will be provided “when they become available.”
Nevertheless, on Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave an indication of the direction of travel for the Trump administration, saying that the U.S. must see an end to human rights violations in Cuba if it is to continue normalising relations.