POLITICS

Trump Administration Tightens Restrictions On U.S. Travel To Cuba

Cruise ship and other leisure travel to the island is banned over the Cuban government’s support of Venezuela's leader.

The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Cuba this week including banning all U.S. travel to the island for tourism in response to the Cuban government’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that the changes will go into effect on Wednesday, June 5. Those who have already purchased flight tickets or made other travel reservations will not be affected.

“This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”

A cruise ship enters the port in Havana, Cuba, in 2016. The Trump administration on Tuesday said it is restricting leisure tr
A cruise ship enters the port in Havana, Cuba, in 2016. The Trump administration on Tuesday said it is restricting leisure travel to the island in response to the Cuban government’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

The new restrictions include a ban on cruise ship travel from the U.S., which became Americans’ most popular form of leisure travel to the island after President Barack Obama lifted travel restrictions in May 2016. The ships brought 142,721 people to Cuba within the first four months of 2019, The Associated Press reported.

National security adviser John Bolton hinted at such a move in April when he criticized Obama’s policy on Cuba. He said President Donald Trump would reverse the prior administration’s policies, which he claimed contributed to a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela that includes hyperinflation and food shortages.

Bolton tweeted about the new sanctions on Tuesday, saying the Trump administration will continue to take action against the Cuban government should it continue to support “the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela.”

“President Trump has made it clear that we stand with the Cuban and Venezuelan people as they fight for freedom,” he said.

There are 12 exceptions to the new travel rules, which would require a license and be determined on a case-by-case basis. Those include for family visits, official government business, journalistic activity, educational or religious activities, performances or athletic competitions, professional research and humanitarian projects.

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