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

Danny Woods
June 20, 2017

The revised Cuba policy is aimed at stopping the flow of US cash to the country's military and security services, the White House announced.

The changes will include rolling back provisions that made it easier for individual Americans to travel to Havana, and American companies who made investments in the country in the past couple of years may see regulatory changes as well, senior White House officials told reporters during a conference call.

The Trump administration are likely to cite Obama's failed appeasement policy toward Cuba as a reason for ending the two-year-old approach of engagement, followed by the former president's government. It seeks to force Cuba to hold free and fair elections, release political prisoners, and allow political and religious freedom.

Former president Barack Obama implemented his Cuba normalization measures through executive actions that bypassed Congress, giving Trump the power to undo much of it with the stroke of a pen.

Despite a new direction, embassies that reopened in Washington, D.C. and Havana under Obama will remain open, and Cuban Americans will still be able to travel to Cuba and send money there, The Herald reports.

"Since President Obama transformed US relations with Cuba in 2014, Americans and Cubans alike have reaped the benefits of expanded trade, loosened travel restrictions, and strengthened diplomatic ties".

The official said that there also won't be any changes to regulations on what Americans can bring back from Cuba.

In January of 2015, Obama requested Congress to lift a number of trade restrictions which had been instated at the start of the USA blockade on the Caribbean island. Marco Rubio are expected to join Trump on Friday. In addition, they must take detailed records of all their financial transactions for five years to make them available to the US Treasury Department if requested, and also keep strict notes proving their compliance with the new order, otherwise they would be fined.

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Republican senator Marco Rubio, who was played a key role in pushing for Trump's changes, was expected to attend along with United States representative Mario Diaz-Balart and other Cuban-American lawmakers.

Tourism is technically banned under the embargo, but under the Obama administration, relaxed regulations allowed Americans to visit Cuba under people-to-people travel.

Obama announced in December 2014 that he and Cuban leader Raul Castro were restoring diplomatic ties between their countries, arguing that the policy the US had pursued for decades had failed to bring about change and that it was time to try a new approach.

Critics say Obama didn't exact concessions from the Cuban government on human rights and democratic reforms. According to island authorities, in 2016 the number of US visitors increased by 74 percent compared to 2015.

Cuban-American GOP lawmakers, Sen.

"Cuba is an important political topic at the regional level, but it carries little economic weight compared to other issues of interest to Trump", added Torrico, who also coordinates the master's program in public policy at Flacso. In this photo, Cubans watch the TV broadcast of the inaugural ceremony of Trump, from Havana, Cuba, Jan. 20, 2017. The new policy will restrict this kind of travel for individuals.

Rubio was very vocal about Obama normalizing relations with Cuba and went as far as to block the President's pick for ambassadors who were part of that agenda.

American travellers hoping to take a trip to Cuba are going to have a hard time doing so going forward, roughly a year after airlines opened up commercial flight routes to Havana.

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