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White House Promises Major Break with Obama’s Cuba Policy

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - May 10, 2017, 5:02 pm
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The Trump administration is reviewing Obama’s decision to withdraw Cuba from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism (Flickr).

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On Wednesday, a senior State Department official said president Donald Trump will be considering “significant differences” with former president Barack Obama’s Cuba policy; one of his main objectives will be improving the state of human rights within the Caribbean country.

Currently, the Trump administration is in the midst of a “comprehensive review” of the Obama administration’s Cuba policy, said Francisco Palmieri, Assistant Secretary of State.

“As we move forward with that review, I suspect that there will be important differences in how this government plans to address the situation in Cuba (as compared to the previous administration),” said Palmieri, who added, “One of the areas that is going to be a great priority will be to ensure that Cuba makes more substantive progress towards greater respect for human rights within the country. That is certainly an area where we will see greater emphasis when the review is completed.”

The Trump administration is reviewing the process of normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as Obama’s decision to remove the island from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, which involves sanctions against the governments within it.

Changing this policy was one of the campaign promises that earned Trump the support of the Cuban community in the United States, a community which is paying close attention to Trump’s language as he reshapes his predecessor’s policy.

The sizable Cuban population is south Florida is generally virulently anti-Castro, and has traditionally supported the Republican Party. Trump is widely regarded to have benefited from support in the Cuban community, who held Obama accountable for what they viewed as policies too favorable to the Castro dictatorship.

Obama sought renewed diplomatic and commercial relations with the autocratic island nation, which lies a mere 90 miles off Florida’s southern coast.

Source: Cubanet

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.

Bolivia Mobilizes Troops to the Border as Chile Warns of Escalation

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - May 10, 2017, 4:56 pm
chile-bolivia

EspañolBolivia has mobilized troops to the Chilean border in an effort to increase efforts against contraband activity. Chile President Michelle Bachelet and officials in her administration said that while the country's intent is good, they do not want an increased military presence to "escalate into something dangerous." "This is Bolivia's sovereign decision, but it is a sensitive action," Chile Foreign Secretary Herald Muñoz said during a radio interview this morning. Officials in Bolivia's Department of Defense described the troops sent to the border as a unit composed of officers and non-commissioned officers specializing in handling smuggling with a high degree of specialty. They added that the number of troops placed on the border may increase. The history of the Chile-Bolivia border is not a clean, friendly one, as wars and controversy have been waged throughout both countries' histories, most often as a result of the latter's desire for access the ocean. Chile's Foreign Ministry said in a recent statement that the border is currently stable, having been normalized following the Treaty of 1904. "There are mechanisms of cooperation between the two countries to combat organized crime," one official said, "so the Bolivian government must be cautious now." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Tension between the two South American countries has manifested on the border in other ways recently, as well. President of the Bolivian Senate José Alberto Gonzáles was denied a Chilean visa. He said he doesn't know the reasons for such a refusal but also didn't consider it important. "It is not so serious that the President of the Senate submits his application to the Chilean consulate in La Paz and is not granted a visa," the Bolivian official said. Read More: Chile’s Pinera Pledges to Double Economic Growth if Reelected President Read More: Chilean Prosecutor Launches Probe into Bachelet’s Campaign Finances Chilean immigration authorities delivered their decision to Gonzalez over the phone and are expected to send him the documentation this Wednesday, which will make the refusal official. President of the Chamber of Deputies Gabriela Montaño also requested entry into Chile, and is still awaiting response. "The official purpose of the President of the Senate's visit, who went as part of a delegation to fulfill constitutional rights and verify the situation of the nine officials detained, is unknown," Defense Secretary of Bolivia Reymi Ferreira said. Sources: El Deber (I), El Deber (II)

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