While Trump explained in a Miami speech that he was ending Obama's "terrible and misguided deal" because of the Cuban government's "repression" of its people, the Washington Post noted that Trump's policy change could benefit, well, Trump - specifically, his hotel business.
In one form or another, the embargo on Cuba has been in place since the Eisenhower administration. "In less than an hour he showed Cubans how US policy works". In addition, civil liberties must be respected, private property rights must be assured and steps must be taken to compensate USA citizens and corporations for properties seized by the Cuban government after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
The president, who promised to be tough on Havana during the presidential campaign, outlined stricter enforcement of a long-time ban on Americans going to Cuba as tourists and will seek to prevent USA dollars from being used to fund what he sees as a repressive military-dominated government.
"Since President Obama transformed USA relations with Cuba in 2014, Americans and Cubans alike have reaped the benefits of expanded trade, loosened travel restrictions, and strengthened diplomatic ties", said Lee. Trump will not close the USA embassy in Havana, which Obama re-established in 2015.
CGTN's Susan Roberts discusses the complex relationship between the US and Cuba with Fernando Menendez.
For tour operators, the announcement means stricter audits by the government, which requires travelers to legitimately fall into one of the 12 exemption categories.
Cuban authorities have stepped up short-term detentions of activists, often confiscating their telephones and laptops, and have also come down with a heavy hand on self-employed Cubans who appear to be empowering themselves. Now, Cubans have to follow the same process as other refugees and immigrants.
Rhodes also called out Florida politicians "who will go down in history having embraced Trump and hurt Cubans", pointing to an Associated Press report that Trump's posturing had pleased USA opponents in Cuba.
It is expected that the Treasury and Commerce Departments will release precise regulations within 30 days.
"Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it seeks to achieve it through pressures and impositions, or by employing more subtle methods, will be doomed to failure", Efe news quoted President Raul Castro as saying in a statement. The vast majority of Americans and the vast majority of Cuban-Americans support free travel to Cubans.
But then Tillerson qualified his statement.
"We have serious worries about the respect for and guarantees for human rights in that country", the statement said.
Trump will not sever diplomatic ties with Cuba nor shutter the US embassy that reopened there in 2015.
A day earlier, he suggested on Twitter that the Senate weigh in on U.S. -Cuba ties: "There is overwhelming support in the US Senate to allow all Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba". While there are fears from the Democrats that Trump might be willing to lift sanctions, it appears that he has so far no desire to do so, and his rhetoric about "working together with Russian Federation to take out ISIS" has also been overshadowed by the ongoing FBI investigation regarding both campaigns. He spoke in Miami briefly before Trump took the stage. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida - have lobbied Trump hard to revive the travel ban and embargo.
Critics of the current policy also tend to downplay the risks of changing it.
"I think he [Trump] did it for political reasons". But it rationalizes its reversion in Cuba on the grounds of defending human rights and spreading democracy.
Cuban officials said Wednesday that almost 285,000 United States visitors flocked to Cuba in the first five months of 2017, roughly the same number as for all of a year ago.
"Deceiving the United States administration and appeasing militant outfits like Haqqani network, Taliban Quetta Shura and Al Qaeda operatives is a policy towed by ISI", the memorandum said.
What did Candidate Trump say?
The US president framed it as a move against a "cruel and brutal" regime: bypassing the state military-run business group GAESA to channel investment to the people.
"This is the simple truth of the Castro regime".
But the trouble with that hodgepodge of measures is that even if they don't end up doing much economic damage to the Cuban dictatorship, they will give Cuba new ammunition to proclaim itself a victim of "U.S. aggression". He did, however, fulfill a campaign promise.