The White House’s new Cuba policy directs the Treasury Department to end a common method of visiting the communist nation.
Tourism is technically banned under the embargo, but under the Obama administration, relaxed regulations allowed Americans to visit Cuba under people-to-people travel. Trump’s policy restricts this form of travel to Cuba for individuals. Americans pursuing this type of travel would have to go in groups, the official said.
The document, published by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, emphasizes that the changes announced Friday will not take effect until new regulations are issued.
In a passionate speech ahead of Trump’s, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., criticized Barack Obama’s approach to U.S.-Cuba relations.
“A year and a half ago a president, an American president landed in Havana to outstretch his hand to a regime. Today, a new president lands in Miami to reach out his hand to the people of Cuba,” Rubio said.
Last year, Obama became the first U.S. president to visit the island in 88 years.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fl., lauded the policy changes, saying that Trump has fulfilled a campaign promise he made in Miami. In 2016, then-candidate Trump called for a reversal of Obama’s normalization of Cuba policy, saying he would demand religious and political freedom for the Cuban people as well as the release of political prisoners.
“U.S. policy will ensure that the Cuban military — which oppresses the Cuban people and it beats the Cuban people through its thugs and imprisons political activists and spies on its neighbors — they can no longer benefit from increased trade and travel,” said Diaz-Balart.
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