Washington, D.C. — Today, President Trump’s administration announced a new set of policy regulations affecting travel and trade with Cuba. The regulations include a list of companies and other Cuban-controlled entities with which U.S. citizens cannot engage in financial transactions or do business. The new regulations will take effect on November 9, 2017, and limit opportunities for business and people-to-people engagement. According to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in Latin America, these regulations are particularly concerning as they follow President Trump’s June announcement to reverse elements of the Obama-era policy of engagement with Cuba.
“Expanding rather than limiting opportunities for trade and people-to-people engagement is in the best interests of both Americans and Cubans. Any policy that makes these activities more difficult only hurts communities in both countries. These changes won’t kill U.S.-Cuban engagement, but they are a step backward, putting more obstacles in the way of deepening engagement,” said Marguerite Jiménez, Senior Associate for Cuba at WOLA.
Reversing engagement goes against U.S. public opinion. Polls show that most Americans, including the majority of Republicans and Cuban-Americans, support policies that ease travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. There is also broad support for engagement among human rights, business, agricultural, and religious organizations.