Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion moves to re­strict US in­vest­ment in Cuban gov­ern­ment

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON: Amer­i­cans seek­ing to visit Cuba must nav­i­gate a com­pli­cated maze of travel, com­merce and fi­nan­cial re­stric­tions un­veiled on Wed­nes­day by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, part of a new pol­icy to fur­ther iso­late the is­land’s communist gov­ern­ment.

Now off-lim­its to US cit­i­zens are dozens of Cuban ho­tels, shops, tour com­pa­nies and other busi­nesses in­cluded on a lengthy Amer­i­can black­list of en­ti­ties that have links to Cuba’s mil­i­tary, in­tel­li­gence or se­cu­rity ser­vices. And most Amer­i­cans will once again be re­quired to travel as part of heav­ily reg­u­lated, or­gan­ised tour groups run by US com­pa­nies.

The stricter rules mark a re­turn to the tougher US stance to­ward Cuba that ex­isted be­fore for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Cuban pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro re­stored diplo­matic relations in 2015. They come as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tries to show he’s tak­ing ac­tion to pre­vent US dol­lars from help­ing prop up the Cuban gov­ern­ment.

“These mea­sures con­firm there is a se­ri­ous re­ver­sal in bi­lat­eral relations,” said Jose­fina Vi­dal, the top Cuban diplo­mat for North Amer­ica.

Still, the pol­icy is only a par­tial rollback of Obama’s changes. Cruise ship vis­its and di­rect com­mer­cial flights be­tween the coun­tries will still be per­mit­ted. Em­bassies in Wash­ing­ton and Ha­vana stay open.

The rules are de­signed to steer US eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity away from Cuba’s mil­i­tary, in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity ser­vices, which dom­i­nate much of the econ­omy through state-con­trolled cor­po­ra­tions. The goal is to en­cour­age fi­nan­cial sup­port for Cuba’s grow­ing pri­vate sec­tor, said se­nior Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials.

To that end, the Trea­sury De­part­ment will ex­pand and sim­plify a li­cence that al­lows some US ex­ports to Cuba de­spite the em­bargo. They in­clude tools and equip­ment to build or ren­o­vate pri­vately owned build­ings. – AP

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