WASHINGTON – The United States has announced that it will be banning cruise ships and education travel to Cuba effective Wednesday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in the statement said that the restrictions are a result of Cuba continuing “to play a destabilising role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up US adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes”.
The State Department announced that “going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorisation. In addition, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.
The sanctions will take effect after they are published in the Federal Register.
It’s reported that commercial flights from the US will continue to be permitted as they “broadly support family travel and other lawful forms of travel”.
The Trump administration announced plans to further restrict travel to Cuba in April, when White House national security adviser John Bolton said the Treasury Department would “implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba”.
The new restrictions are part of a broader effort by the US administration to roll back the efforts by former President Barack Obama to restore normal relations between the United States and Cuba, which drew sharp criticism from the more hardline elements of the Cuban-American community and their allies in Congress.
Cruise travel from the U.S. to Cuba began in May 2016 and then became the most popular form of U.S. leisure travel to the island.
Although the new restrictions take effect Wednesday, but the government said it will allow anyone who has already paid for the trip to go ahead with their plans. (CMC)