Trump Vows to Undo Eased Cuba Relations Unless His Demands Met

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Faithful follow the procession of Cuba's patroness Our Lady of Charity in Havana on Sept. 8, 2016.

Photographer: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images
  • Republican candidate previously supported opening relations
  • Trump calls for more religious, political freedom on island

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump vowed to reverse improved U.S. relations with Cuba unless the island nation meets his demands for more religious and political freedom.

Trump’s comments at a Friday rally in Miami mark a reversal of his previous position. He told the Daily Caller in September 2015 that he was “fine” with “the concept of opening with Cuba.”

President Barack Obama has been moving to normalize diplomatic relations with the island nation that soured more than five decades ago during the Cold War, which effectively ended most forms of American investment. In March, Obama visited Cuba with his family, the first trip by a U.S. president in 88 years.

“All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro Regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them –- and that is what I will do, unless the Castro Regime meets our demands," Trump said at the rally.

Trump said during prepared remarks that his administration would "stand with the Cuban people in their fight against Communist oppression."

In December 2014, Obama announced that the U.S. would move toward normalizing relations with the former Soviet ally. The State Department since took Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terror. The U.S. also reopened an embassy in Havana for the first time since the Eisenhower administration in 1961 cut diplomatic ties with Fidel Castro’s new regime. The Obama administration has made it easier for U.S. residents to travel to the island.

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