Trump has been active and vocal of his dislike for Obama’s policies throughout his campaign and presidency. So it’s no surprise that he’s “canceling” Obama’s deal with Cuba. He announced this plan in Miami’s Little Havana district on Friday, June 16. Citing Cuba’s violations of human rights as the reason for this, he no longer wants to support the Cuban government in any way. His goal with this new policy is to weaken the Cuban government and incite political change.
You might hear this and think, “Oh no, where will I get my Cuban cigars now?” As one of the most popular imports out of the country, cigar smokers everywhere are weeping at the news that Trump is reneging on Obama’s detente. Don’t fear! While Trump’s new policy has not yet restricted trade, it will be more difficult to get Cuban products in America. There’s a better Cuban cigar, that’s not actually Cuban, at Custom Tobacco. The Briarmont Reserve is comparable to every famous Cuban cigar on the market and you won’t have to worry about losing it as America’s relationship with Cuba deteriorates.
Not Everything is Changing
Trump’s action affects very little for Americans. The embassies on the island will remain open, travel will continue with more limitations, and trade will persist between the two countries. Trump’s new policy leaves most aspects of Obama’s in place. Most importantly, the economic embargo restricting sales of American goods to Cuba remains intact. This embargo not only keeps the country stuck in the 60’s, it also means goods only come out of the country without any entering.
While goods are not entering Cuba, many are leaving. Americans have no spending limits on the country and can still bring back rum and cigars, Cuba’s most popular exports. Americans can also still send endless amounts of money to Cubans on the island. And the “wet foot, dry foot” policy has not been reinstituted.
What did Trump actually do to Cuba?
Aside from badmouthing Castro and the Cuban government, Trump’s new policy has little effect on actual trade with the country. However, the new policy directly impacts commerce and business with the Cuban military. This would make it difficult for American companies to expand or enter business relations in Cuba. The Cuban military also primarily controls the hospitality industry, so these companies will suffer from the new policy. His intent with this is to stop empowering the Cuban government, however citizens will suffer the most as they were the ones being employed by American companies.
The other change from Trump’s new policy is on travel. Obama’s deal opened up individual travel to Cuba. All travel had to fit into one of 12 reasons such as educational, research, and family visits. All of this opened up tourism to Cuba. Now, Trump’s new policy bans “tourism” visits. This ban removes traveling for education and “people-to-people” travel to the country, meaning citizens have to go in groups. Instead of individuals traveling and supporting small businesses, Americans will go back to supporting the two major Cuban tour companies: Insight Cuba and Intrepid Travel. Also, in order to visit, you must submit an itinerary. The itinerary “must not include free time or recreation in excess.” Basically, you cannot go to Cuba to have fun and explore the country.
Furthermore, while there are no spending limits, Americans are restricted on where they can spend their money in the country. Trump will soon release a list of forbidden Cuban entities associated with the government. Once the government releases the list and the Treasury sets up regulations, Americans cannot give money to them. Since tourists can only go to Cuba in groups, they will have to use hotels and buses that can fit large groups. The only large-capacity accommodations on the island are run by the Cuban state and, in turn, the military. Depending on the list, it seems that it will be very difficult for anyone to travel to Cuba and small businesses that cater to tourists will close down.
Trump’s new policy might not seem to affect much, but it will prove to be detrimental to Cuban people. Consequently, Americans will find it more and more difficult to find Cuban products as there will be less travel to the country.