President Trump on Wednesday announced a series of new sanctions against Cuba prohibiting Americans from importing Cuban cigars and rum and staying in hotels funded by the Cuban government. The new restrictions follow a series of measures announced by the government. administration in 2019 and aimed at curtailing travel to Cuba from the United States, including a ban on cruise ships, private yachts, fishing boats, and group educational and cultural trips. said on Wednesday that U.S. citizens will also be banned from attending or organizing conferences in Cuba and participating in them. in public performances, clinics, workshops, competitions and exhibitions on the island. “Today, as part of our continued struggle against Communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will ban American travelers from staying in properties owned by the Cuban government,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. White House event in honor of Bay of Pigs veterans. “We are also further restricting the importation of Cuban alcohol and Cuban tobacco.” “These measures will ensure that US dollars do not finance the Cuban regime and will go directly to the Cuban people,” he added. While the penalties are designed to apply. pressuring the Cuban government to reduce its support for besieged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Wednesday’s announcement appeared to be an attempt to appeal to Cuban-American voters in Florida, a battlefield state in the race for 2020 presidential election and Trump’s hypocritical attempt to bow to Cuban-American voters in Florida, ”Enrique Gutierrez, a Democratic Party spokesman, said in an email. “US citizens are already banned from traveling to Cuba because of the coronavirus.” Mr. Gutierrez said Mr. Trump “was using our foreign policy for his own political gain.” Cuba is currently closed to foreign travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic, but when it opens, US citizens will be banned from staying in 433 funded hotels. by the Cuban government or “some well-connected insiders,” the State Department said, urging travelers to instead stay in private accommodations, or “casas particulares,” owned and managed by “legitimately independent contractors.” “The Cuban regime has redirected revenue from authorized travel to the United States for its own benefit, often at the expense of the Cuban people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Wednesday. “This administration is committed to denying the oppressive Cuban regime access to the revenues used to finance its malicious activities, both at home and abroad.” An official at the Cuban Embassy in Washington told Reuters that the application of sanctions against Cuba had failed to meet proposed targets in 60 years. “This is a flawed policy that is widely rejected by American society and even among Cuban Americans,” the official said. Follow the New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert advice on traveling smarter and getting inspired for your next vacation.
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