White House Blocks Americans From Cuban Hotels, Shops

New rules to make it harder for Americans to visit Cuba take effect Thursday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 8, 2017 2:19 PM CST
US Makes It Harder for Americans to Visit Cuba
In this June 17, 2017 file photo, a man takes a photo of a cruise ship in Havana harbor, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

Americans who visit Cuba must now avoid hotels, shops, tour companies, and other businesses on a lengthy list released Wednesday by the Trump administration as part of a new policy aimed at cracking down on the communist-run island's government, the AP reports. US travelers will once again be required to go as part of organized tour groups run by US companies, and a representative of the sponsoring group must accompany the travelers. That's a return to the stricter rules that existed before President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic relations in 2015. The new rules and list of off-limits entities are intended to put in place the tougher Cuba policy that President Trump announced in June. Trump's administration took several months to finalize the details of that policy, which will take effect Thursday.

The list of off-limits entities bars American business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy. These include GAESA and CIMEX, the holding companies that control most retail business on the island; Gaviota, the largest tourism company; and Habaguanex, the firm that runs Old Havana. It also places off limits a new cargo port and special trade zone outside the city of Mariel that has been the focus of Cuba's efforts to draw foreign investment in manufacturing and distribution. A list of blacklisted military-run hotels includes the Manzana Kempinski, which opened with great fanfare this year as Cuba's first hotel to meet the international five-star standard. Some exceptions will accommodate Americans who made plans or entered into business agreements before Trump's policy announcement June 16.

(More Cuba stories.)

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