On Wednesday (September 23), President Donald Trump announced new measures for U.S. travelers in Cuba. The announcement was made in the East Room of the White House during an event honoring 20 veterans of the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba that attempted to halt the Fidel Castro’s communist government. Trump discussed new Teasturey Department measures.
Travelers will no longer be permitted to bring specific souvenirs back from Cuba including cigars and rum. The new travel sanctions also forbid American citizens from staying in Cuban government-owned accommodation. This will make it complicated for U.S. travelers to visit Cuba as the government controls nearly all hotels on the island. Currently, American citizens were allowed to visit Cuba to see family, for humanitarian visits, and several other reasons as deemed acceptable by the U.S. government.
These regulations may further cripple the island’s financial infrastructure. Specifically, the alleged aim of the sanctions is to reduce American spending that typically benefits the Cuban government. The U.S. is one of the only countries with sanctions on Cuba.
Trump has been destroying diplomatic relations with Cuba throughout his presidency. Previously, he had reversed diplomatic relations implemented by former President Barack Obama. “I canceled the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime,” Trump said. He described the Obama policy as a “weak, pathetic, one-sided deal” with the Castros. In 2008, Trump registered his trademark in Cuba for his hotels, golf courses, and casinos during the economic blockade.
At the event, he exclaimed that U.S. sanctions on Cuba sanctions will remain until Cuba releases all political prisoners, respects civilian’s rights to free assembly and expression, legalizes political parties, and schedules free elections. “We reaffirm our ironclad solidarity with the Cuban people and our eternal conviction that freedom will prevail over the sinister forces of communism and evil in many different forms,” he said. “We declare America’s unwavering commitment to a free Cuba.”
Trump is campaigning to earn the Cuban-American vote as many in the community are Republican—especially in the critical swing state of Florida. There are nearly 3 million Latine voters in Florida. Cuban-Americans might want to take these statements with a grain of salt as Trump is historically anti-Latine that impacts all people living in the U.S. with Latin American heritage.