US Takes Steps To Make It Harder For Americans To Visit Cuba

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans who visit Cuba must now avoid hotels, shops, tour companies and other businesses on a lengthy list released Wednesday by the Trump administration as part of a new policy aimed at cracking down on the communist-run island's government.

U.S. travelers will once again be required to go as part of organized tour groups run by U.S. companies, and a representative of the sponsoring group must accompany the travelers. That's a return to the stricter rules that existed before former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic relations in 2015.

The new rules and list of off-limits entities are intended to put in place the tougher Cuba policy that President Donald Trump announced in June. Trump's administration took several months to finalize the details of that policy, which will take affect Thursday.

Some exceptions will accommodate Americans who made plans or entered into business agreements before Trump's policy announcement June 16, such as "people to people" trips to Cuba.

But at the same time, the Treasury Department said it is expanding and simplifying a license that allows some products to be exported to Cuba without specific permission from the U.S. government. The goal in allowing those exports is to enable Americans to help the growing private sector in Cuba, including small businesses that have popped up across the island in recent years.

"We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The list of off-limits entities bars American business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy. These include GAESA and CIMEX, the holding companies that control most retail business on the island; Gaviota, the largest tourism company; and Habaguanex, the firm that runs Old Havana.

It also places off limits a new cargo port and special trade zone outside the city of Mariel that has been the focus of Cuba's efforts to draw foreign investment in manufacturing and distribution.

A list of blacklisted military-run hotels includes the Manzana Kempinski, which opened with great fanfare this year as Cuba's first hotel to meet the international five-star standard.

The actual impact on American business with Cuba will likely be limited because that trade is already sparse, and the rules allow it to largely continue. Many American travelers stay at hotels not on the new list, and the company that imports most American food products to Cuba is similarly unaffected. U.S. flight and cruises are exempted as well.

Left unchanged is a U.S. travel warning that urges all Americans to stay away from Cuba. The administration issued that warning in September amid a series of invisible, unexplained attacks that have harmed the health of U.S. government personnel in Havana. The U.S. says 24 Americans are "medically confirmed" to have been affected by those attacks.

-By Josh Lederman, Associated Press. AP writer Michael Weissenstein in Havana contributed to this report.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags


  • COOLinary


    During the month of August, experience cuisine that delights your palate and is an integral part of the history and culture of New Orleans. This...

  • 2018 Regional Infrastructure Conference Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Gulf Coast Chapter (GCC)


    Join the Construction Management Association of America – Gulf Coast Chapter (CMAA GCC) for the 2018 Regional Infrastructure Conference being...

  • Upcoming Auditions Near New Orleans, LA


    To schedule an audition, please visit the website provided, Any questions about current or upcoming auditions should be...

  • Biz Night at Galatoire's 33


    Looking to promote your business and network with local professionals? Register today for Biz New Orleans' Strictly Biz Night. Join us this month...

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana’s “Blue Door Blues” Gala


    The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana is proud to announce its annual fundraiser, “Blue Door Blues.” The gala, scheduled for Thursday,...

  • Fund 17 Summer Happy Hour


    This fall, Fund 17 will open a new resource center for entrepreneurs. Join us for a networking happy hour and exclusive look at the plans for this...

  • Networking Happy Hour


    Join us for the next installment in our quarterly New Orleans networking event series! We’re opening our doors and inviting the regional bio,...

  • Jefferson Chamber Golf Classic


    Enjoy a day on the links with business friends, clients or prospects, and network with Jefferson Chamber leadership, board members and key decision...

  • Spice of Life Women's Expo Northshore


    Bring your friends to shop, socialize and learn at this fun-filled, energetic Ladies Day Out. Exciting Speakers Presenting Interesting and Relevant...

  • You Are Not Alone


    The Counseling Solutions program of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is collaborating with the Substance Addiction Ministry of the...

  • Biz Night at Royal Sonesta


    Looking to promote your business and network with local professionals? Register today for Biz New Orleans' Strictly Biz Night. Join us this...

Show More...