According to new intel released by the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, the Trump administration has seen fit to further restrict ways that Americans can travel to Cuba, arguing that revenue generated by authorized U.S. travelers is being rerouted to the Cuban government.
“The Cuban regime has been redirecting revenue from authorized U.S. travel for its own benefit, often at the expense of the Cuban people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This Administration is committed to denying Cuba’s oppressive regime access to revenues used to fund their malign activities, both at home and abroad.”
Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to restrict lodging at certain properties in Cuba; prohibit the importation of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products into the U.S.; nullify the authorization for Americans to organize or attend professional meetings or conferences in Cuba; and eliminate the authorization to organize or participate in public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and other athletic or non-athletic competitions.
The new regulatory amendments, which can be found at 31 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 515, will go into effect upon their publication in the Federal Register.
Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List
The OFAC has added a new provision into the CACR that forbids, “any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as owned or controlled by the Cuban government,” as well as those owned or run by prohibited Cuban government officials or their close relatives or prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party or their close relatives. To keep tabs on the details of lodgings that fall under this new ban, the State Department is creating a new index, called the ‘Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List.’
Cuban-Origin Alcohol and Tobacco
The OFAC is also including an amendment that excludes, “the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products from several general authorizations.” Previously, under certain circumstances, U.S. visitors could bring home such products in their accompanied baggage for non-commercial use.
Professional Meetings and Conferences
The OFAC is also “eliminating the general authorization related to attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings or conferences in Cuba.” However, it may still be possible to obtain authorization on a case-by-case basis via specific license.
Public Performances, Clinics, Workshops, Exhibitions and Competitions
Similarly, the OFAC is “eliminating the general authorization related to public performances, clinics, workshops, other athletic or non-athletic competitions, and exhibitions.” Here, too, individual authorization for these activities via specific license may still be considered on a case-by-case basis. The only remaining general license for organization of and participation in athletic competitions held in Cuba will now be the one pertaining to athletic competitions by amateur, or semi-professional, athletes or athletic teams.
Video: Government watchdog says top DHS officials not legally qualified to serve (NBC News)