Cuba Travel for US Citizens Just Got Even Harder

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

  • September 27, 2020 at 7:42 am
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    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!

  • September 26, 2020 at 12:30 am
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    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.

  • September 24, 2020 at 7:59 pm
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    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.

  • September 24, 2020 at 6:40 pm
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    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.

  • September 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm
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    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.

  • September 24, 2020 at 10:31 am
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    Olga. How strange that you, a Cuban, support an unabashedly racist President who rants about America First. Are you still unaware that he and his reactionary supports despise hispanic immigrants like yourself ? Does his pledge to make the Cuban people suffer even more for their choice of government excite you that much ? You may have a N-550, but you really don’t have a country.

  • September 23, 2020 at 7:16 pm
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    I for once, agree with much that Nick says. There is however some confusion in his penultimate sentence. The main task for Trump and his cronies, who under his leadership have abandoned the principles of Abraham Lincoln’s Party, is to get re-elected and that is why he is playing toady in Florida.
    Nick’s preference in only having Presidents from one Party in the future runs counter to democratic principles. Better to pursue a multi-party, rather than two party system. It is apparent that a Socialist party including the likes of Bernie Sanders and AOC would be unlikely to ever be elected, currently however, they are an evident problem for the Democrats. Equally, the Republicans have the problem of the extreme Christian right, and former KKK supporters.
    The embargo is locked in by the requirement of a 60% vote by Congress making a recommendation to a President.
    The rising murmurs about the Electoral College are indicative of problems in the modern age where the democratic vote of the majority of the electorate is increasingly sought.

  • September 23, 2020 at 6:47 pm
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    I’m very happy with every decision that president Trump do against the horrible dictatorship of the Castros a lot of Cubans come over here take government assistance abuse the system if this great nation apply as political refugees and a year later are in Cuba supporting the dictatorship with their money. Enough. Hope the end of the Cuban nightmare is close. And when the Cuban ppl get a Democratic system all this Canadian and European child molesters that going to Cuba for cheap sex see how happy every Cuban would love their freedom

  • September 23, 2020 at 3:05 pm
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    This is a bunch of BS.. One it already hard on family that can’t see their family’s and now this. GUESS YOU AND GUESS WHO I’m not voting for!!! All he’s doing is keep the Cuban people down because the government don’t give 2 shits about their people…. All I want is my husband ..

  • September 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm
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    I don’t go along with much of this trump individual says.
    But for the very first time we have a Republican President who has finally admitted that ‘If everyone in the USA was able to vote, then we would never have a Republican President ever again’.
    Finally one of this presidential ilk actually summons up the cojones to admit the reality of the democratic shortfall in the USA.
    And still they have the audacity to use ‘democracy’ as a pretext to attempt to exert control over other nations.
    U.S. policy re Cuba has nothing to do with any democratic pretension. It is only ever aimed at securing FLA electoral college votes.
    Nothing more – Nothing less.
    Anything else is blatantly hypocritical BS.
    trump and his right wing conservatives cronies need to, for their own sakes, lay off Cuba and concentrate on the main task:
    Good ‘ol traditional voter suppression in the less than democratic USA.

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