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    US and Cuban flags are seen on the balcony of a restaurant in downtown Havana, Cuba March 19, 2016.

    Clinton Likely to Deepen US-Cuba Ties, Ease Restrictions - Research Institute

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    US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will likely further advance the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba and would seek to ease the restrictions with Havana, Florida-based Cuban Research Institute Director Jorge Duany told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Duany noted that Clinton has proposed to continue US President Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba, including lifting the trade embargo.

    "She [Clinton] has stated that she would use executive power as president to further loosen the existing restrictions on relations with Cuba," Duany stated. "Under a Hillary Clinton administration, the normalization of US-Cuba would probably proceed even further than under the Obama administration."

    "Like President Obama, Clinton believes that engagement rather than isolation is the best way to promote change in Cuba," he added. "In a public speech in Miami in July 2015, Clinton claimed that the embargo was a ‘failed policy.’ Instead, she has advocated for more trade, travel, and contact between the United States and Cuba."

    In case Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wins the November 8 election, his administration will probably return to the status quo of US-Cuba relations that was in place before 2014, Duany noted.

    "That is to say, trade, communications, travel, and other contacts between the two countries will be severely restricted, in order to pressure for "religious and political freedom for the Cuban people," he said.

    He explained that while Trump welcomed the normalization process initiated on December 17, 2014, next year he shifted his stance and promised to reverse Obama’s executive orders and concessions towards Cuba.

    "Much of Trump’s change of heart regarding US-Cuba relations in the last year seems to be based on his attempt to consolidate his support among conservative Cuban exiles in Miami," Duany suggested.

    Duany noted several polls have shown that the Cuban-American community is split on whether to lift the embargo, with the majority supporting the normalization. He added that younger Cuban-Americans are increasingly leaning toward Democratic candidates or becoming independent voters.

    "Furthermore, the revelation that one of Trump’s companies may have violated the embargo in 1998 by financing a business trip to Cuba may undermine the Cuban-American vote for Trump," he added.

    In December 2014, Obama announced that the United States would begin to normalize relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of non-engagement and hostilities. While the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals in July 2015, the congressionally-mandated US trade embargo continues to remain in effect.

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    Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, United States, Cuba
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