New US government rules restrict travel and trade with Cuba

Trump Places New Restrictions On Travel And Trade To Cuba

But as his administration moves to implement the new regulations, the Treasury Department said it is simplifying and expanding license exceptions for certain exports to the Cuban private sector "consistent with the Administration's policy to support free enterprise in Cuba".

It goes against the will of the USA people: "US citizens, including Cuban Americans, strongly support policies that ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba", she added.

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.

The State Department has also published a list of 180 entities including hotels, stores, rum makers, marinas and a economic development zone at the Port of Mariel, which are believed to financially benefit the Cuban military, intelligence and security services and which U.S. citizens will no longer be permitted to frequent.

Commercial relations with Cuba are to be similarly restricted to prevent any exchanges with the 180 entities on the State Department list.

Business agreements and "people-to-people" travel arrangements made before Trump announced his new Cuba policy in June were excepted from the new rules.

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The new restrictions represent a partial rollback of Obama-era policy changes, which loosened restrictions on trade and travel between the US and Cuba. Those who booked "people to people" trips before Trump's June announcement will be exempt, along with Americans who organized education trips before the rules start on Thursday. Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, called the policy "out of touch" with both Cuban and American interests. "We do not want USA dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba". Even before the attacks were revealed, the Trump administration had sought to reverse much of the previous administration's rapprochement with Cuba.

The new rules stress that USA commerce should concentrate on private sector businesses in Cuba, and not those with government ties. American travel to the island has increased exponentially.

The administration's policy change comes 20 months after Obama became the first sitting USA president in almost a century to visit the island - part of numerous efforts his administration made to thaw relations between the United States and Cuba. "They serve to placate a fading minority in South Florida, harming American and Cuban workers and families".

The regulations permit continuance of airline and cruise travel and existing business relationships.

The State Department has said those actions were in response to severe health problems experienced by two dozen American diplomats in Cuba, which it said were the result of unspecified "attacks" on USA personnel. Wednesday his administration released its new Cuba regulations - and ironically, private Cuban entrepreneurs may get hit worst.

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