WASHINGTON – The restrictions on travel and business with Cuba announced by President Donald Trump in June will take effect on Thursday, the US government said on Wednesday.
The new regulations, which the Treasury Department published on Wednesday, flesh out Trump’s plan to halt the thaw in US-Cuba relations launched by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
“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 in a press release.
As Trump had announced earlier in a speech in June in Miami, the regulations bar transactions with scores of entities and sub-entities controlled by the Communist-ruled island’s military, intelligence or security services.
These include more than two-dozen hotels in Havana and Old Havana and more than a dozen hotels in Varadero, a popular beach resort.
“Individual people-to-people nonacademic educational travel will no longer be authorized,” the Treasury Department said, although exceptions will be made in the case of some previously authorized trips.
Additional actions, meanwhile, will be required of Americans who visit the island under the so-called Support for the Cuban People Travel category.
These people must engage in a “full-time schedule of activities that result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba,” the department said. “Such activities must also enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities.”
Trump promised during his campaign to take a tougher line toward Cuba but has not gone to the extreme of severing the full diplomatic relations re-established under Obama.
The president has made it clear that he supports maintaining the 55-year-old US economic embargo on Cuba, which only the US Congress can end.