In a move some expected once President Donald Trump took office, the administration is rolling back nearly 20 years of eased travel restrictions to Cuba and banning all cruise ship stops from the United States. The move was enacted to put pressure on Cuban officials and to keep American dollars away from its economy.
“This administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Mnuchin, who joined Trump on his first state visit to the United Kingdom this week, added that Cuba, with a population of fewer than 12 million people, “continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua.”
U.S. law bars travel to Cuba for tourist activities, but Americans have been allowed to go there under 12 authorized categories, including individual and group “people-to-people” travel — a subcategory of the education provision that permitted visits to the socialist country for cultural and educational purposes.
The travel restrictions go into effect on June 5.