U.S. to Further Restrict Travel to Cuba

By Anna Breuer on 20 April 2019
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The American cars of Cuba

The American cars of Cuba

The Trump administration said it will tighten current restrictions on travel to Cuba moving forward, a further reversal of the Obama administration’s policies towards the island nation. The administration wants to put pressure on the island’s government in response to its support of the current Venezuelan regime.

“In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban Colonization of Venezuela today,” said National Security Advisor John Bolton earlier in the week in a speech at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida.

The Treasury Department will implement changes to the travel policy that will restrict non-family travel to Cuba, Bolton said, in a move to “steer American dollars away from the Cuban regime or its military or security services who control the tourism industry in Cuba.”

Current U.S. travel regulations to Cuba have been in place largely in tact since 1963, although President Obama loosened the restrictions somewhat in 2015.

While the most popular category of travel, so-called “people-to-people” visits, is no longer an option and clearly dampened enthusiasm, there remain – at least for the moment – 12 categories that make travel planning relatively easy. The list includes family visits; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, workshops, and athletic competitions; humanitarian projects; and support for the Cuban people.

One thing visitors must avoid is, according to the U.S. embassy in Cuba’s website, avoid “direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.”

This means that staying at an Airbnb or casa particular is fine but staying at some hotels, specifically those with ties to the Cuban military, such as those owned or controlled by Habaguanex or Gaviota, is forbidden. It behooves the traveler to pay attention to the U.S. State Department’s list of those companies, as “entities or subentities” that are owned or controlled by a body on the Cuba Restricted List but are not on the list themselves are not restricted.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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