WASHINGTON – The United States government announced on Friday new measures that will limit to $1,000 per quarter the amount of money in remittances that Cuban residents in the US can send family members on the island.
“OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) is placing a cap of $1,000 U.S. dollars per quarter that one remitter can send per quarter to one Cuban national,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
He also said that the US “is prohibiting remittances to close family members of prohibited Cuban officials and members of the Cuban Communist Party.”
Up to now there have been no limits placed on either the quantity or frequency of remittances sent to Cuba since they were legalized in 2014, when the Barack Obama administration (2009-2017) normalized relations with the Caribbean island, thus putting an end to 50 years of Cold War hostility between the two nations.
However, US President Donald Trump has described that strategy as a “terrible and misguided deal” on various occasions.
“We are taking additional steps to financially isolate the Cuban regime,” Mnuchin said.
The head of the Treasury Department said the United States “holds the Cuban regime accountable for its oppression of the Cuban people and support of other dictatorships throughout the region, such as the illegitimate Maduro regime.”
“Through these regulatory amendments, Treasury is denying Cuba access to hard currency, and we are curbing the Cuban government’s bad behavior while continuing to support the long-suffering people of Cuba.”
In June, the Trump administration banned cruise ships from sailing to the island.
Since then, the United States has not permitted visits to Cuba on passenger ships or recreational voyages, including cruise ships and yachts, private and corporate aircraft.
Nonetheless, commercial flights continue to operate between the US and Cuba.
Since he assumed the presidency in January 2017, Trump has toughened US policy toward Cuba by cutting diplomatic staff, activating a law allowing Cubans in the US to sue in court for assets expropriated following the Revolution, and by slapping sanctions on the island’s hotels, thus expanding the economic and trade embargo.