What people traveling to Cuba should know about Trump's restrictions

Lance Nichols
June 16, 2017

President Donald Trump is set to announce curbs on U.S. firms doing business with the Cuban military and tighter rules on travel to the island tomorrow, as he tries to roll back an opening initiated by Barack Obama.

In a speech Friday at a Miami theater associated with Cuban exiles, Trump will cast the policy moves as fulfillment of a promise he made during last year's presidential campaign to reverse then-President Barack Obama's diplomatic re-engagement with the island after decades of estrangement.

He will also leave in place some other tangible measures implemented by his Democratic predecessor, including the resumption of direct U.S. -Cuba commercial flights, though Trump's more restrictive policy seems certain to dampen new economic ties overall.

Getting to stroll through the colorful streets of Havana may soon be much harder for Americans.

These changes will affect Cuba's burgeoning tourist industry that has lured Americans who had always been attracted by the island just 90 miles from Florida but impossibly out of reach thanks to long-standing sanctions.

But now, if US citizens want to travel for any of those exempt reasons, according to the Herald they will have to provide detailed records and plans showing what they will be doing while in Cuba and keep extensive records of all financial transactions within Cuba for five years to make available for the Treasury Department if requested.

"The airlines might complain that they will see less demand for travel because travelers can no longer spend money at the military-run properties".

The new policy will ban most US business deals with the Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group (GAESA), a sprawling conglomerate involved in all sectors of the economy, but make exceptions related to air and sea travel, the officials said.

The policy reverts to the pre-2016 rule, which mandates that anyone traveling under that category must be part of a group to ensure compliance with federal rules that prohibit tourism visits to Cuba.

Much of Trump's policy appears based on S.1489, a bill proposed by Sen.

Since the rapprochement with the United States, the Cuban government has repeatedly said it will hold talks on any topic the USA wants to discuss. Marco Rubio - who were experts on Cuba policy.

In addition, Americans will need to keep strict records of every financial transaction they make in Cuba and hold onto those records for up to five years should the Treasury Department, who enforces the embargo, want to audit an individual's trip.

The event comes almost two years after the US and Cuba formally restored relations, an occasion marked by the reopening of a USA embassy in Havana, on July 20, 2015. Absolutely not. And the Cuban government should do more.

The alleged justification for the new policy is that it will pressure the Cuban dictatorship to give concessions on human rights and political liberalization. "And you can tell where they are because there are dozens of people crowded around there", said Carlos Gutierrez, a Cuban-American who served as Commerce Secretary in the George W. Bush administration.

Polls suggest most Americans support the liberalized policy towards Cuba pushed by the Obama administration.

It also indicates that the new administration will not reinstate the wet foot, dry foot policy, which allowed Cuban immigrants who reached American soil to remain in the country. Relaxed travel laws allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to visit Cuba for the first time.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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