The Treasury Department said Tuesday it will no longer allow ‘people to people’ travel to Cuba.
THE TRUMP administration on Tuesday imposed major new travel restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, further dismantling relations with the island’s communist government that were reestablished under former President Barack Obama.
The Treasury Department said in a statement that the U.S. is banning organized educational and cultural group trips known as “people to people” travel, one of the most common ways Americans could visit Cuba and a method used by thousands to visit the island even before the Obama administration normalized diplomatic relations and loosened restrictions that had been in place for decades.
The Treasury Department also said private and corporate aircraft and boats will not be able to travel to Cuba, though commercial flights would not be affected. Trips for university groups, academic research, journalism and family or professional matters will continue to be allowed, the administration said.
“Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, 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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “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.”
The new restrictions will impact cruise ship passengers whose trips are organized as tours, according to reports.
U.S. citizens with future people to people travel plans to the island and who have completed a travel-related transaction, like buying a plane ticket or booking a hotel, will still be allowed to complete their trips, the Treasury said.
The new ban will be enacted on Wednesday once the rule is published in the Federal Register.
The Trump administration first announced in April that it would seek to tighten travel permissions to Cuba.