The Treasury Department announced major new restrictions on U.S. citizens who wish to travel to Cuba on Tuesday. People will no longer be able visit the island using organized tour groups that license Americans, allowing them to travel there without much hassle.
According to a statement released by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the new restrictions were added in response to the country playing a "destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere," and "providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes."
"This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services," said Mnuchin.
That means organized tours such as those found on cruise ships will be prohibited from visiting the island. Since President Barack Obama restored full diplomatic relations with the Cuban government in December 2014, thousands of U.S. citizens have booked travel to Cuba using organized tours. There was no word on whether U.S. airlines that have established new routes into the country will be affected by the new restrictions.
If you've already booked travel to Cuba, you should need to cancel your plans just yet. The Treasury Department added in the statement that "certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019."
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