New Cuba Regulations
Today, the Trump Administration released detailed new regulations governing legal travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens. The new rules, following up on a presidential speech in Miami last June, restrict financial transactions by U.S. visitors with entities directly tied to the Cuban government, as opposed to Cuban citizens. The changes itemize dozens of Cuban entities and facilities, including specific hotels and stores, that are now legally off-limits to U.S. travelers – and also tighten rules governing participation in educational and people-to-people programs.
Based on our initial review, it appears the new rules do not affect Ocean Passages’ programs. In any case, we will continue to operate in full compliance with all regulations of the U.S. Departments of Commerce and the Treasury, the two relevant agencies. Ocean Passages has specific authorization from both of these federal agencies for our 2018 program in Cuba.
To be clear, the State Department’s warning against travel to Cuba is not part of these new regulations. The travel warning, based on health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats, is a non-binding recommendation. We work closely with personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Havana and remain concerned about their condition – but after careful assessment decided to stay our course to Cuba for this winter.