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Female entrepreneurs in Cuba seek Ivanka Trump’s support

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In this Dec. 7, 2016 photo, Cuban entrepreneur Marta Deus holds a letter to President-elect Trump urging him to support Cuban businesses. Deus signed a letter Tuesday urging First Daughter Ivanka Trump to support Obama-era Cuba policies she says have benefitted Cuba’s private sector. Photo by Gabrielle Jorgensen.

Female entrepreneurs in Cuba are urging White House Assistant to the President and First Daugher Ivanka Trump to support Obama-era Cuba policies they say have benefitted their businesses.

A group of 55 entrepreneurs signed a letter Tuesday inviting Ivanka Trump to visit Cuba to learn about private businesses run by women.

“Come to Cuba and get to know our companies, which we have built with our own efforts and that make us prouder by the day. Please support travel, trade, and exchanges between our two countries,” the entrepreneurs wrote in a letter organized by the anti-embargo Engage Cuba lobby group.

The women also wrote that a reversal of the Cuba opening would lead to “the fall of many of our businesses and with this, the suffering of all those families that depend on them.”

On Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to visit Miami to announce reversals to several Obama administration policies that eased travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. Although a time and location for the announcement has not yet been officially announced, a White House spokesperson told the Miami Herald that the Manuel Artime Theater in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood is one of the locations under consideration.

The women’s letter made no reference to former President Barack Obama who is largely credited with moving toward a policy of normalization with . During his administration, he increased opportunities for Americans to travel to and do business with the island; re-established diplomatic relations between the two nations; raised limits on remittances; and ended the two-decade “wet-foot dry foot” policy that allowed Cubans who set foot on U.S. soil to become permanent residents.

While Trump has not yet officially signed off on a Cuba policy, US-Cuba Trade Economic Council President John Kavulich wrote he will likely impose tighter restrictions on travel to the island and U.S. companies signing deals with Cuban companies linked to the military.

It is unlikely he will cut off diplomatic relations with Havana and reinstate the “wet foot, dry foot” policy. It is unclear what direction he will take on remittances, which are largely responsible for financing the country’s nascent private sector.

The entrepreneurs wrote they are concerned the expected Cuba policy rollback will negatively impact normalization benefits such as “increased U.S. visits, improved telecommunications, and the introduction of new U.S. products and services.”

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