New Trump Rules Pare Back Obama's Opening to Cuba

The days of Americans legally staying at Ernest Hemingway's Old Havana haunt, the Hotel Ambos Mundos, or making purchases at Havana's only luxury shopping arcade, will be over under new regulations the Trump administration issued Wednesday as part of a crackdown on USA business and travel to Cuba.

"The changes, which take effect on Thursday, are aimed at preventing US trade and travellers from benefiting its military, intelligences and security arms of the Communist-ruled country".

American tourists will also no longer be able to travel to Cuba on individual people-to-people exchange programs. Americans wanting to visit Cuba will have to go as part of organized tour groups run by United States companies. The restrictions also fall on shops in Old Havana, as well as businesses like rum producers and real estate firms.

"They will expand the list of Cuban government officials barred from transactions as well as set policy to deny exports to prohibited Cuban entities, " the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Trump administration said it wants to eliminate any American support for the Cuban government because of its human rights abuses.

Donald Trump has been reconsidering many decisions by his predecessor Barack Obama, including with regard to the relations with Cuba, one of the major achievements of the former administration.

Individuals will be prohibited from traveling to Cuba under the new rules but can continue as part of groups resistered with the US government and following the so-called "people-to-people" plan, which generally requries the trip to have an educational component.

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