By Jeff Mason and Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday banned U.S. citizens from bringing dwelling rum or cigars from Cuba and from keeping at Cuban government-owned lodges, as he sought to lock in the Cuban-American vote in the swing point out of Florida forward of November’s presidential election.
Because Trump took business in January 2017, he has been rolling back a detente with America’s aged Cold War foe pursued by his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama.
Trump’s aides think his toughened stance has long gone down properly in the significant Cuban-American neighborhood in south Florida, an essential voting bloc in a point out exactly where he and Democratic presidential prospect Joe Biden are locked in a restricted race.
“These days, as section of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Division will prohibit U.S. travelers from keeping at attributes owned by the Cuban govt,” Trump reported at a White Home occasion.
“We’re also additional proscribing the importation of liquor and Cuban tobacco,” the Republican president said at the ceremony honoring Bay of Pigs veterans.
Trump’s final decision overturns Obama’s policy of letting American vacationers to bring back as much of Cuba’s legendary rum and cigars that they could have in their baggage for private use.
A Treasury factsheet mentioned U.S. citizens would be allowed to invest in rum and cigars although visiting the Communist-operate island, but would no for a longer time be permitted to convey those people solutions household.
“The latest U.S. authorities insist on the software of a sanctions plan versus Cuba that has not attained the proposed objectives in 60 a long time,” said a Cuban embassy formal in Washington. “It is a improper coverage that is extensively turned down by American modern society and even amid Cuban Us residents.”
The measures – which bar Americans from remaining at more than 430 lodges owned or controlled by the govt and impose new constraints on expert meetings, performances and sports activities competitions – are supposed to deny revenue to Cuban authorities.
They are not predicted to have any fast influence because the island is closed off to international vacationers thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Carrie Filipetti, deputy assistant secretary of state for Cuba and Venezuela, reported the new coverage “will continue on even past the pandemic.”
Trump and Biden are competing fiercely in Florida, which Trump won in 2016 by just 1.2 percentage factors. Trump will keep a rally in Jacksonville on Thursday.
Filipetti denied the steps were timed for electoral obtain, stating they had been in the works for some time.
In June 2019, the Trump administration imposed hefty new restrictions on travel to Cuba, expressing the go aimed to further stress the Communist federal government in excess of its aid for Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
Before this 12 months, the Trump administration requested Marriott Global
to wind down lodge operations in Communist-operate Cuba. Starwood Motels, now owned by Marriott, was the to start with U.S. lodge enterprise to indication a offer with Cuba given that the 1959 revolution amid normalization of relations sought by Obama.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Matt Spetalnick and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington, Marc Frank in Havana Creating by Doina Chiacu, Alexandra Alper and Matt Spetalnick enhancing by Jonathan Oatis, Tom Brown, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.