By Circles Robinson

President Donald Trump speaks during an event to honor Bay of Pigs veterans, in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

HAVANA TIMES – Hoping to secure votes in Florida, Donald Trump announced Wednesday even tighter restrictions on Cuba travel for US citizens. The screw continues to be tightened down on what seems like a never-ending number of threads.

“Today, as part of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will prohibit U.S. travelers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government,” Trump said at the White House.

“We’re also further restricting the importation of alcohol and Cuban tobacco,” he added. The announcement of hardened sanctions came at a ceremony honoring 1961 Bay of Pigs veterans and commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Mariel boatlift that brought 120,000 Cubans to Miami, noted Reuters.

Since January 2017, Trump has sought to unwind a detente with Cuba pursued by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. Although at the time, Fidel and Raul Castro rejected Obama’s overtures during his visit in March 2016 to Havana.

It’s Still Possible for US Citizens to Visit Cuba but…

The new US Treasury Department restrictions, prohibit US citizens from staying at hotels or properties owned by the Cuban government. Staying in private homes is also of great difficulty with the strict sanitary controls for Covid-19.

Collin Laverty, President of Cuba Educational Travel, noted that the new measures also “remove general licenses for travel to Cuba for the purpose of professional events and conferences as well as public performances, sporting competitions, workshops and the like.”

Laverty said, “there are still ways US citizens can legally travel to Cuba. However, these prohibitions will create more confusion and complications.” The promoter of educational travel and exchange said, “less travel will mean more hardship for Cuban families.”

Those US citizens who do manage to travel to Cuba will have any rum or cigars confiscated upon returning home.

Cubans are already facing numerous economic difficulties including acute shortages of basic food and hygiene products. The government recently dollarized part of the state-controlled retail sales to obtain more hard currency. The move increased the social gap between those with US dollars and the majority with only Cuba pesos.

Stepped-up repression and harassment of independent journalists, artists, political opponents, or simple dissenters is also felt.

Weighing the consequences of the new restrictions, Collin Laverty had this to say. “How long will US politicians kick around the Cuban people for political victories in Florida.” He added, “Six decades of talking tough and tightening the embargo to please Cuban Americans has achieved nothing. The Cuban government is in control and the Cuban people are still facing hardship.”

Read more news and commentary from Cuba here.


10 thoughts on “Cuba Travel for US Citizens Just Got Even Harder

  • Trump is a disaster to the US and now Cuba. We had the fortune to travel to Cuba for a few weeks in 2018 and the people are the only one he hurts. Though as we did, it’s so easy to be giving exclusively to the Cuban people by staying in family run bnb’s, non government cabs, and dining. They will overcome even this! This ploy on Cuban American votes is another con by the greatest conman in history!

  • Noone is right, if everyone is wrong.
    Both government’s ideologies are equally wrong with respect to Cuba, America foreign policy. Pompousness and arrogance has left no wriggle room for compromise, with the result of citizens of both countries coming out on the losing end.

  • I’m a cuban American. I’m not a Democrat or Republican but I’m very disgusted by Cubans in Florida. They accept American government assistance and go to Cuba on a regular basis with the American tax payers (government) money but they call themselves Republicans. Trump and his Republican goonies don’t care about cubans period. All they want is your votes.

  • Just to add to the clarification Nick. The Republican Party is beyond hope, it is now in prayer!

    Having allowed themselves to sink into the Trump nauseating trap, modelled upon the Russian system, Republicans are now supporting his bid for autocracy.

    Autocracy ? In the US ?

    Trump claims to be the “President of law and order.” With Barr in office and the Supreme Court majority looming, his ambitions to control the Law, are tantalizingly almost within grasp.

    The five autocratic amigos may yet comprise Putin, Xi, Kim, Bolsonaro and Trump!

    November 3rd, 2020 is indeed a critical date for the US as a democracy and the consequences stretch far beyond its borders.

  • Just to clarify Mr MacD.
    Winning in Florida and Voter Suppression are two factors which Republicans hope will contribute to an election win.
    I would say that USA is, on balance, somewhat more democratic than Cuba.
    But not as democratic as the U.S. population are led to believe.

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