US Blacklists Cuban Firms, Restricts American Travel to the Island

US Blacklists Cuban Firms, Restricts American Travel to the Island”

"Restrictions on engaging while traveling with individual Cuban entities will be confusing for travelers and require significant US government resources to enforce", he said.

American companies that have already signed business contracts with Cuba can however move ahead with their plans, says The Washington Post, adding that U.S. airlines and cruise ships will continue to operate normally.

The gist is this: If you don't want to travel with an organized US group, the Trump administration offers a category called "Support for the Cuban People".

Trump announced new sanctions in June, and the Treasury Department warned Wednesday that they would be a partial reversal of former President Barack Obama's policy.

"This is the old speech", said Josefina Vidal, the Director General with the Cuban Foreign Ministry. Cruise ship visits and direct commercial flights between the countries will still be permitted.

He believes there are more entities controlled by the military, intelligence, or security services or personnel that should have been in the list of forbidden business partnerships.

"At a time that President Trump is meeting with communist leaders in China and Vietnam, these regulations show the absolute hypocrisy and political pandering of the Trump administration on Cuba", said Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, a group that arranges trips to the island.

The US will now take a closer look at Americans traveling to Cuba. They include tools and equipment to build or renovate privately owned buildings. The administration took several months to finalize the details of the new rules, which will take effect Thursday.

Vidal said Trump's new measures are meant to put "pressure on the Cuban government to change".

Americans can still travel on educational and "people to people" trips as well as visits created to support the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned small businesses that have popped up across the island in recent years.

The new rules require American travelers to engage in a activity that will "enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people's independence from Cuban authorities", the Treasury Department said. "The American people are the best ambassadors of USA values overseas, and should be allowed to freely promulgate those values and travel to any destination they wish without restriction from their own government".

But there is a lot of confusion over what Americans can and can't do if they travel to Cuba. The attacks led the Trump administration to order most of its diplomats to leave Cuba in September and issue a sweeping travel warning urging Americans to stay away.

Officials insisted that the new, tougher rules had no connection to the attacks.

It's still technically illegal for Americans to visit Cuba just for tourism's sake. Business deals already reached with entities on the prohibited list will be allowed to proceed.

The blacklist bars business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy.

For clients that already have business dealings in Cuba and were grandfathered in under the new rules, Freyre said, "the rules are a needed guidance on the do's and don'ts, but these clients are going forward in Cuba".

Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters that he wants the list to be longer and include the Gran Caribe Hotel Group and Cubanacan.

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