New restrictions for travel and trade to Cuba may be coming this Friday. Although former President Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and has allowed more travel and trade opportunities with the island nation, President Trump is expected to reverse the polices. A Cuba travel ban may be coming very soon! Several news agencies are reporting that the change in policy could close Cuba to Americans once again!
NPR is reporting that the Cuba travel ban announcement will happen on Friday and will make several Republicans and isolationists very happy.
“President Trump is preparing to announce changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba, possibly tightening restrictions on travel and trade that were loosened under former President Obama.
Trump is expected to announce the changes in Miami on Friday.
The move was confirmed by a Congressional source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. has been leading the push for a more restrictive policy, along with his fellow Cuban-American, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
The changes could make it more difficult for Americans to visit the island and for U.S. companies to do business with Cuba. The Obama administration ended decades of economic and diplomatic isolation of Cuba, in hopes that renewed engagement would lead to reforms in the communist country.
The White House declined to discuss the pending changes.
“When we have an announcement on the president’s schedule, we’ll let you know,” said spokesman Sean Spicer. “But just stay tuned.”
Going to Cuba – Maybe Not
When the US and Cuba restored diplomatic relations the US DOT allowed several airlines to bid for service to Cuba. Immediately airlines flooded the market to only learn that demand to Cuba was not as high as expected. Many airlines have cut routes, downgauged aircrafts, and decreased frequencies. Despite the decrease in service since service was restored, airlines offer thousands of weekly seats to Cuba and many cruises now cruise between the USA and Cuba.
Cuba is a highly sought after destinations with American tourists and companies flocking to the islands. Although many of us dreaming about a Cuba vacation, Cuba may not be all that great depending on who you ask. Yet despite that warning, visiting Cuba is on my list, among most of my friends. I am hopeful that this is just another rumor and does not play out to be true. However, based on what we’ve seen from the Trump Administration, I expect nothing short of another isolationist policy.
If another one of Trump’s travel bans goes into effect, Cuba may face another US embargo. In this case, cruise companies and airlines must stop serving the island. If this happens, your tickets will be refunded and you should cancel any trips you have planned. Cruises will probably skip Cuba as a port of call and replace it with another destination or a day at sea. If the ban happens, you can do what Americans have done for years and travel on special charter flights to Cuba. Another option, which is often cheaper, is traveling via a third country such as Canada or Mexico.
Cutting off Cuba will Hurt American Companies
A new Cuban travel ban and embargo is likely going to hurt American companies more than it will hurt Cubans. Not only will thousands of Americans with trip plan have to make new arrangements, but companies serving Cuba will have to cease operations. Airlines, cruise companies, and tour companies will instantly loose thousands in lost revenue.
Beyond the travel and tourism industry, American companies preforming trade with Cuba will face consequences. To no one’s surprise, Cuba has a huge trade deficit with the United States. Each month the US sells millions of dollars’ worth of good to Cuba. Yet per the US Government, nearly nothing is being imported from Cuba. In 2016 the US exported $245.5 million worth of goods to Cuba, we imported $0. In 2017, $84 million worth of goods have already been exported to Cuba. This embargo is going to hurt the US economy and it’s not only airlines that will be feeling the pain.
Finally, Go with Caution
Currently, we do not know if the fine details and if the Cuba travel ban will go into effect immediately. We do not even know what Trump’s plan is for his embargo. News sources are heavily leaning towards a travel embargo for US Citizens to the island. In addition, Cubans may face their own restrictions to the United States. A full trade embargo may or may not be part of his announcement. For years, select trade has been allowed between the US and Cuba. President Obama administration made it easier to trade with Cuba. Yet, any change or regression in policy is bad news for anyone hoping to visit the island. It is also bad do for those who do business and trade with Cuba.
If you have plans to go to Cuba, or have plans to go in the next few weeks travel with caution. If Trump’s ban goes into effect immediately, you may find yourself on the island with no return trip home. Travel with caution or at least make a backup plan.