Trump Bans All Recreational Travel To Cuba In Strong-Arm Move
In what seems to be a strong-arm move to control Cuba's political alliances, President Donald Trump's administration has just announced that it will be restricting all travel to Cuba. The ban, which will reportedly be taking effect this week, will include all "passenger and recreational vessels." This will include cruise ships, pleasure yachts, private planes, and other vehicles.
The US State Department made the announcement this week. The apparent reason for the travel ban was the Cuban government's continued support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The agency also stated that the government is continually repressing its citizens. The ban is meant to keep the flow of US Dollars into the country and from its "communist government."
Trump had previously publicly condemned Cuba's support of Maduro, who is now facing stiff opposition from the country's interim president Juan Guaido. Venezuela is currently in the midst of a full-blown economic crisis, partly due to the political strife within the country and the US' various sanctions against it.
According to the State Department, the money that is being funneled into Cuba from US tourists has made its way into the country's military and its communist government. The US is now calling on the Cuban government to immediately stop its repression of its people and to halt its political support for the Venezuelan president.
Trump's administration has essentially ended the almost two-decade-old program that had allowed Americans to visit the country. The ban has understandably caused quite a ruckus amongst travel agencies and cruise operators, who still have active and pending schedules.
Tourists, who had plans to visit the country, will likely now be forced to cancel their trips. This could cause thousands of dollars in losses for travel operators.
Cruise operators such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line have already contacted their customers with some reportedly agreeing to swap itineraries. Meanwhile, airlines are now trying to figure out how to handle their customers who have already fully paid for tickets to travel to Cuba.
Visits to Cuba for special circumstances are still allowed; although this will be strictly regulated. Travel from the US to Cuba will only be allowed for those who are visiting family members, those under government orders, and those that are part of humanitarian efforts.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned in a statement that Cuba plays a key role in the destabilization of the Western Hemisphere. The country, with a population of around 12 million people, continues to be a stronghold for communist in the region.
Mnuchin believes that restricting recreational travel to the country should help in keeping money out of the hands of the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.