Trump Administration Threatens New Travel Restrictions To Cuba
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
In another move to undo policies put into place by the Obama administration, the Trump team has recently announced new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. Somewhat vague statements made at the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association luncheon on Wednesday has left many Americans confused about what this means for upcoming travel plans to the island nation.
“The Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba. These new measures will help steer American dollars away from the Cuban regime or its military and security services who control the tourism industry in Cuba,” national security advisor John Bolton said.
Currently, there are 12 categories of permitted travel to Cuba for Americans that include: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
Bolton’s statements imply that these categories will soon change, and have left many Americans wondering if they should cancel their upcoming travel to Cuba. However, according to various experts, there is no need to make any travel changes at the moment.
“For now, travelers should stay calm and keep an eye out for more news about what the actual changes will be,” Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, told the New York Times. “Yesterday’s announcement was very general and did not include any details about what changes will be implemented and what the process and timeline will be. This appears to be part of the administration’s overall Cuba strategy of causing fear and confusion amongst would-be travelers, traders, and investors. Until the Treasury Department issues new regulations in writing, it’s business as usual.”
The impending changes are bad news for Cuba’s travel industry and for the Cuban people who depend on tourism dollars as part of their income. Less tourism could greatly effect economic growth and opportunity across the island.