News in recent months has changed how easy it is for US travelers to visit Cuba. Unfortunately, the easement of restrictions under the Obama administration has been curtained by the Trump government. Restrictions have been imposed once more. While it is not impossible, it is now more difficult for United States citizens to visit Cuba. www.travelrows.com
What Has Changed Regarding Cuba Travel Restrictions for US Travelers?
Under Obama’s administration, there were twelve categories of legal travel. People to people trips, which emphasized direct contact with Cuban people through cultural activities, were the most popular. People to people or cultural travel to Cuba has not been eliminated for US citizens.
Notably, all US cruise ship travel to Cuba has now been banned by the Trump administration. Cruise companies started sailing to Cuba in 2016 after being given the green light. The routes that were set up became incredibly popular. Though the influx of cruise ships put strain in Cuba’s outdated ports, by May 2019, more than 140,000 US visitors had already visited Cuba on cruises. Now, this cruise traffic has been unceremoniously halted.
Trump and his administration want to limit US travel to Cuba, and curtain the economic benefits that the Cuban government gains from US tourists. While eleven categories of permitted travel still exist, planning a trip to is (intentionally) now more complex, and Americans visiting Cuba risk having their stay audited once they return home,and may have to face fines if they are deemed to have engaged in prohibited transactions.
What Caused This Change in Cuba Travel Restrictions?
Trump has vacillated on issues related to Cuba in the past. Recent tensions, however, regarding the Maduro government in Venezuela, have made relations between the US and Cuba more frosty.
The US blames Cuba for propping up the Maduro government as the Venezuelan economy melts down. Cuban officials deny that any military aid has been given, though Cuba does have a long-standing agreement in which they send medical officials to Venezuela in return for oil.
Trump argues that Cuba needs to be pressured with sanctions in order to force Maduro out.
What Impact Do The Cuba Travel Restrictions Have on US Travelers?
Many cruise travelers may already have had their cruises to Cuba cancelled or refunded. However, for other travel to Cuba, if you booked at least part of your vacation before June 5th 2019 you can still forge ahead with your plans.
While many US travelers will choose not to go to Cuba due to the complexity of the regulations surrounding such a trip, some travelers may still choose to visit the country using one of the other categories of permitted travel – staying at Air BnBs and eating at privately owned paladars (restaurants) rather than staying at state-owned hotels and other state owned places.
What Impact Do The Cuba Travel Restrictions Have on Cubans?
There is no doubt at all that the Cuban people are the ones who will suffer the most due to the reduction in US visitors. The explosion in US visitor numbers in recent years have allowed Cuba’s fledgling private sector to flourish, and the Cuban people have gained a higher level of autonomy in a traditionally very government-focussed state. Those involved in fledgling businesses will be those who suffer most from the new sanctions.