U.S. tightens restrictions on travel to Cuba

Nov 09, 2017, 00:25
U.S. tightens restrictions on travel to Cuba

"08 de noviembre de 2017, 12:57Washington, Nov 8 (Prensa Latina) The government of the United States today announced more restrictions to US citizens interested in doing business with Cuba and traveling to the Caribbean island, by virtue of a presidential memorandum that reverses major aspects of the two countries" rapprochement. American tourists typically stay at hotels not included on the Cuba Restricted List, and US -based flights and cruises are exempted from the regulations.

In June, Trump announced he would be rolling back some of the changes made by his predecessor, Barack Obama, who sought in his second term to restore diplomatic relations with the island nation.

President Donald Trump signs his new Cuba policy at the Manuel Artime Theateron June 16, 2017 in Miami, where he unveiled the changes he's making to the Obama-era policies toward Cuba.

In terms of travels, non-academic individual trips will not be authorized and US citizens traveling to Cuba under the auspices of an organization must be accompanied by a representative of the group, among other restrictions.

Any business and travel arrangements made before the announcement will be grandfathered in.

"We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people", said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Asked why the hotel was left off, the first official said, simply, "we assess how listing hotels would affect the Cuban people and whether doing so advances the interests of the United States". "We do not want USA dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba".

Travel on educational visas will no longer be allowed, requiring travelers to instead use a US company.

The new rules stress that USA commerce should concentrate on private sector businesses in Cuba, and not those with government ties. "They serve to placate a fading minority in South Florida, harming American and Cuban workers and families".

Separately, the administration in recent months has dramatically reduced the size of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, suspended issuance of U.S. visas to Cubans there, advised Americans not to travel to the island and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Havana's embassy in Washington.

The US Treasury said the measures are created to steer American travellers away from Cuban firms tied to the military and towards the communist island's fledgling private sector. Administration officials said Wednesday that those actions were unrelated to the new regulations.

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