(WASHINGTON) — Five months after President Trump announced he was tearing up President Obama’s Cuba deal, his administration is implementing those changes.
Starting Thursday, U.S. tourists and companies will no longer be able to do business with a long list of entities that allegedly have ties to Cuban military, intelligence or security services.
American tourists will also no longer be able to travel to Cuba on individual people-to-people exchange programs. They must travel now with a sponsoring organization or, if travelling for educational purposes, with an American group or university.
The full list of 180 sanctioned Cuban businesses includes famous hotels in Havana, such as Hotel Ambos Mundos and Hotel Armadores de Santander. The restrictions also fall on shops in Old Havana, as well as rum producers and real estate firms.
There is also an expanded list of Cuban government officials barred from transactions with the U.S., including exports from American businesses.
Any contracts signed before Thursday’s implementation will be allowed to proceed and the new travel restrictions don’t apply to anyone who booked travel before Trump’s speech on June 16.
The Trump administration said the purpose of the restrictions is to eliminate American support for the Cuban government.
“We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba,” the president said in June.
Instead, the White House is relaxing some restrictions on exports to private Cuban businesses in order to foster greater support for the private sector, the Treasury Department announced.
Trump has long criticized the Obama administration’s historic diplomatic reform efforts with Cuba.
The Trump administration’s new restrictions largely bring the U.S. back in line with policy before Obama opened relations with the Caribbean nation.
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