Travel companies brace for Trump's Cuba policy announcement
Jun 17 2017 by Johnnie Parsons
"We want to empower and we want to strengthen the Cuban people, without strengthening the Cuban military", Rubio said during a Facebook live post. The Associated Press reported that the expected changes will ban transactions with a military-linked corporation that operates dozens of hotels and other tourist facilities.
Many details of the new policy will be subject to regulations that have yet to be drafted by Cabinet secretaries, including the Treasury Department, which will determine how to interpret some of the new limits on investment and spending.
A main concern is that Mr Obama's White House made it too easy for money spent by American companies and individuals to flow to Cuban government sources instead of benefiting regular Cubans.
Photo Credit: President Trump will eliminate one of the more popular types of travel for individual US citizens to Cuba. Only Congress can lift it.
The official said that the administration "will continue to take an aggressive stance" on human rights, but declined to comment on foreign policy related to other nations. But "the administration's intent", the official said, "is not to disrupt existing transactions that have [already] occurred".
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, where many Cuban Americans still despise the Castro regime, applauded the move even though it could cost airlines and other tourism businesses money. His aides contend that Obama's easing of USA restrictions has done nothing to advance political freedoms in Cuba, while benefiting the Cuban government financially.
Trump will reportedly prohibit Americans and U.S. companies from doing business with a Cuban conglomerate that owns large sections of the island nation's economy, Bloomberg reported.
Also not expected are any changes to USA regulations governing what items Americans can bring back from Cuba, including the rum and cigars produced by state-run enterprises.
The group trips would require USA visitors to travel with a guide from an educational group-a requirement the Obama policy had lifted.
Part of the Obama re-engagement included giving ordinary Americans the ability to travel to Cuba under one of 12 reasons, including educational trips. Americans pursuing this type of travel would have to go in groups, the official said. Americans traveling to Cuba will face more scrutiny and potentially audits of their trip when they get back home in order to prove their dollars didn't go to the Cuban military's pockets, which control much of the tourism economy. Trump wants to see improved human rights, free elections and the release of political prisoners, officials said. During his visit to Riyadh last month, he said he had not come to "lecture" about any country's internal policies.
It's unclear, and likely will be until the policy is formally enacted within 90 days of tomorrow, just how strict the enforcement will be, but it could make it illegal to purchase Cuban cigars and rum, as both businesses are owned, at least partially, by the government.