Commerce and Treasury Departments tighten Cuba sanctions
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Commerce and Treasury Departments tighten Cuba sanctions

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released new restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba Tuesday.

The new OFAC regulations end a “grandfathering” provision that allowed individuals who had made at least one travel-related transaction for a people-to-people trip that had previously authorized to proceed with the trip. As of Tuesday, organized people-to-people trips will no longer be authorized. The regulations also end authorization for cruise lines which operated trips to the island. Such trips have become popular since the 2016 decision by the Obama administration to loosen restrictions on Cuban travel.

The BIS regulations were amended to prohibit the export of private and recreational vessels and corporate aircraft to Cuba. Previously, these sales were allowed with a license exception. Such exceptions will no longer be granted.

The new measures are part of the Trump administration’s foreign policy objectives as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explained: “The Trump Administration recognizes the threat Cuba’s government poses in the region, and the Commerce Department is acting to limit commercial activity that provides revenue for the Cuban regime.”