Trump to tighten Cuba travel rules

Katrina Barker
June 16, 2017

President Trump will announce efforts to restrict US companies from doing business with Cuban ventures controlled by that country's military and strictly enforce rules on Americans traveling to the Communist nation, according to a memo seen by Fox News.

Trump is expected to announce the policy changes Friday at Miami's Manuel Artine Theater, the Herald reported.

"It is a promise that President Trump made and it is a promise that President Trump is keeping", the official said, citing a pledge Trump made to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association as the group endorsed him for president during the campaign past year.

President Trump is expected to announce new restrictions on travel and business with Cuba on Friday.

Getting to stroll through the colorful streets of Havana may soon be much harder for Americans. Trump's policy will also not reinstate the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, which allowed any Cuban who made it to USA soil to stay and become a legal resident. That changed in 2014 during the first round of normalization when travelers returning from Cuba were allowed to bring up to $100 worth of Cuban alcohol and tobacco products back.

Under the revised travel policy, US officials say there will be tighter enforcement to make sure Americans legally fit the 12 authorized categories they claim to be traveling under, which could spook many visitors, wary of receiving a hefty fine.

Critics say the threat of a Treasury audit could have a chilling effect on travel and hurt business for the private-run bed and breakfasts and restaurants Americans often frequent.

Any new prohibitions should prohibit USA investments and business partnerships with the Cuban military and security services - including Cuban companies owned by the military - under existing general license authorizations enacted as part of the Obama administration's unwinding. But finding accommodations on the island will become more hard, since the directive bans most business transactions with the Cuban military, which owns the lion's share of Cuba's tourism infrastructure, including hotels.

When Obama lifted the ban on Americans bringing Cuba's fabled cigars and rum home from travel overseas for personal use, many took the opportunity to light one up and sip a glass of aƱejo. How big the changes in policy will be, however, remains to be seen.

General diplomatic relations with Cuba would continue and embassies re-opened in Washington and Havana would remain. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) played a "central" role in helping the administration recast the policy, one official said, while other members of Congress were instrumental as well.

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

The details will be announced in a speech to a mainly Cuban-American audience in Miami.

Critics fear the measures will not do much economic damage to the Cuban dictatorship, and will give it new ammunition to proclaim itself a victim of USA aggression and an excuse to postpone democratic changes. "Likewise, Americans should be allowed to travel to other nations and serve as diplomats who can spread our soft power overseas".

"I'm Cuban. So, I'm seeing my side my people and what's been happening in the past two years has been helping my people", Maceda said.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER