Thursday, December 14, 2017
Nation & World

White House implements new Cuba policy restricting travel and trade

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration Wednesday announced tight new restrictions on American travel and commercial exchanges with Cuba, implementing a policy announced by President Trump five months ago to reverse Obama administration normalization with the Communist-ruled island.

Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of a licensed group, accompanied by a group representative. Americans will also be barred from staying at a long list of hotels, and patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services.

The new rules "are intended to steer economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence and security services . . . and encourage the government to move toward greater economic freedom" for the Cuban people, according to a senior administration official, one of several authorized by the White House to brief reporters on the changes on condition of anonymity.

Commercial relations with Cuba are to be similarly restricted to prevent any exchanges with the 180 entities on the State Department list.

Administration officials said that the new regulations, which go into effect Thursday, would not effect travel arrangements already made or contracts already signed, which are to be grandfathered under existing law.

President Barack Obama restored diplomatic ties with Havana in 2015 and issued regulatory changes that allowed increased commercial relations and expanded travel to Cuba.

Trump, who said during his campaign that he would "terminate" the Obama normalization if Cuba would not cut a "better deal" with the United States, announced during a June speech in Miami’s Little Havana that changes would be made.

"Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America," Trump said in the speech. "We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba."

Much as Obama used his regulatory authority to loosen restrictions within an ongoing U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, Trump has now changed those regulations to retighten them.

Although the amount of trade under the Obama changes has not expanded as much as anticipated, a number of U.S. business and agricultural entities have sought contracts in Cuba. American travel to the island has increased exponentially.

Collin Laverty, who organizes educational travel to the island, said that "at a time that President Trump is meeting with Communist leaders in China and Vietnam, these regulations show the absolute hypocrisy and political pandering of the Trump administration in Cuba. They serve to placate a fading minority in South Florida, harming American and Cuban workers and families."

U.S. airlines and cruise ships will continue to operate in Cuba under the new regulations.

Separately, the administration in recent months has dramatically reduced the size of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, suspended issuance of U.S. visas to Cubans there, advised Americans not to travel to the island and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Havana’s embassy in Washington.

The State Department has said those actions were in response to severe health problems experienced by two dozen American diplomats in Cuba, which it said were the result of unspecified "attacks" on U.S. personnel. Administration officials said Wednesday that those actions were unrelated to the new regulations.

cuba-policy

Comments
Ex-‘Apprentice’ star Omarosa to tell all about White House

Ex-‘Apprentice’ star Omarosa to tell all about White House

WASHINGTON — Former Apprentice star Omarosa is putting the White House on notice as she makes her exit: She has "quite a story to tell" about her time in President Donald Trump’s administration and "the world will want to hear it." Accustomed to the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Putin says Trump foes harm U.S. with Russia collusion inquiries

Putin says Trump foes harm U.S. with Russia collusion inquiries

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the United States is only hurting itself with investigations of alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, and the Kremlin leader vowed he won’t allow the radical opposition...
Updated: 4 hours ago
U.S. says missile parts prove Iran is illicitly arming Houthis

U.S. says missile parts prove Iran is illicitly arming Houthis

WASHINGTON — Flanked by singed missile remnants, President Donald Trump’s envoy to the United Nations declared Thursday that "undeniable" evidence proves Iran is arming Houthi rebels in Yemen, the latest bid by the Trump administration to rally the w...
Updated: 5 hours ago
VIDEO: Cops corral cow that wandered away from nativity scene

VIDEO: Cops corral cow that wandered away from nativity scene

PHILADELPHIA — A cow that escaped twice from a nativity scene in Philadelphia is back in place. The cow, nicknamed "Stormy," wandered away from the nativity scene at Old First Reformed Church of Christ Thursday and ended up on Interstate 95. Philadel...
Published: 12/14/17
Sen. John McCain, battling brain cancer, is in Walter Reed from effects of treatment

Sen. John McCain, battling brain cancer, is in Walter Reed from effects of treatment

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for recovery from the side effects of another round of treatment for brain cancer, according to his office.McCain, who missed a third straight day of Senate ...
Published: 12/14/17
Text messages in hand, Republicans plan to accuse Justice Department of bias

Text messages in hand, Republicans plan to accuse Justice Department of bias

WASHINGTON — The release Tuesday night of FBI officials’ text messages describing the possibility of a victory by Donald Trump as "terrifying" and saying that Hillary Clinton "just has to win" is fueling a Republican campaign to attack the impartiali...
Published: 12/13/17
In texts, FBI officials in Russia inquiry said Clinton ‘just has to win’

In texts, FBI officials in Russia inquiry said Clinton ‘just has to win’

WASHINGTON — Senior FBI officials who helped investigate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton "just has to win" and described a potential Trump victory as "terrifying," according to texts released...
Published: 12/13/17
5 things to know about Alabama’s new U.S. senator, Doug Jones

5 things to know about Alabama’s new U.S. senator, Doug Jones

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Doug Jones, a Democrat who once prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in a deadly church bombing and has now broken the Republican lock grip on Alabama, is the state’s new U.S. senator. Here are some facts about Jones: CLOSE TO HOME Jone...
Published: 12/13/17
Roy Moore not conceding as Democrat Doug Jones wins bitter Alabama Senate race

Roy Moore not conceding as Democrat Doug Jones wins bitter Alabama Senate race

In a stunning victory aided by scandal, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama’s special Senate election on Tuesday, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litan...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Sessions says attacks show security issue

Sessions says attacks show security issue

BALTIMORE — A botched suicide mission on the New York City subway system showed in the "starkest terms" that the failures of the U.S. immigration system are a national security issue, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday during a stop in ...
Published: 12/12/17