The upside to former President Obama's landmark deal to normalize relations with Cuba is that the Cuban people have benefited, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The downside, he says, is that they haven't benefited enough. While commending the increased commercial activity in Cuba, Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that "we have achieved very little" in regards to how the Cuban government treats its people, per the Wall Street Journal. To fix that, President Trump is expected to unveil an updated Cuba policy Friday that will "allow as much of this continued commercial and engagement activity to go on as possible" but also encourage Cuba to end human rights violations, Tillerson says, per the Guardian.
An anonymous White House official tells the AP that the US embassy in Havana will remain open but that trade with Cuban companies with ties to the military will be outlawed. The Journal also reports on a possible tightening of travel restrictions since much of Cuba's tourism industry is controlled by its military. In this way, the US is "inadvertently or directly providing financial support to the regime," Tillerson says. At the same time, "political opponents continue to be imprisoned, dissidents continue to be jailed, women continue to be harassed." The US is also expected to request the release of prisoners and the return of US fugitives from Cuba. Numerous groups have penned letters in an attempt to sway policy, reports the Miami Herald. (Read more Cuba stories.)