Back in June, President Trump announced that he would be ending former President Obama’s “Cuba deal.” Now it seems that the new administration is following through with new Cuba restrictions, as reported by ABC News.
American tourists and companies are now restricted from doing business with Cuban military, intelligence or security services. An additional restriction is that Americans can no longer participate in travel to Cuba on individual people-to-people exchange programs but must be with either a sponsoring organization or on educational travel with an American group or university.
Sanctioned hotels include some of the most famous in Cuba such as Havana’s Hotel Ambos Mundos and Hotel Armadores de Santander. Restricted businesses include various shops in Old Havana, as well as businesses such as rum producers and real estate firms.
Further restrictions apply to Cuban government officials being able to transact business with American companies, including exports. Contracts signed prior to the date that the restrictions were announced will still be allowed, as will people-to-people travel booked before Trump’s speech on June 16 or travel for educational or humanitarian purposes before Nov. 9.
The restrictions will be enforced Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, with the help of agencies like Customs and Border Patrol at ports of entry. Penalties include fines and prosecution for repeat offenses.
If you do travel to Cuba, be sure to keep any paperwork to prove compliance with the new laws. Prior restrictions from before Obama’s era, such as obtaining pre-approval for travel, will not be reinstated.
According to Trump’s administration, the new Cuba restrictions are designed to take away support from the country’s human rights abuses and to promote greater freedoms for the Cuban people.
However, experts say that the restrictions will likely have the opposite effect and may give Russia an additional leg up in the region.