Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after President Trump’s Administration announced new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba.
Effective June 5, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it will no longer authorize group people to people travel, also known as nonacademic educational travel. The administration already ended individual people to people travel in November 2017. “Tourist activities” in Cuba are illegal under the Trade Sanctions Reform Export Enhancement Act of 2000. However, people to people travel, initiated by the Obama administration in 2011, may have crossed the line into unlawful tourism. There are still twelve categories of lawful travel to Cuba.
“I commend President Trump and his administration for continuing its strong solidarity with the Cuban people by cutting off resources to their oppressors. The elimination of individual people to people travel, and now also group people to people travel, will bring to an end abuses of travel to Cuba that may have crossed the line into tourism travel. According to U.S. law, tourist activities are prohibited to Cuba. However, cruises, tour groups, and other people to people travel seemed often to cross the line into unlawful tourism. By ending people to people travel, there are likely to be fewer abuses and therefore fewer resources to reach the regime, which runs much of Cuba’s tourism industry.
“At this time, while the regime in Cuba is subverting democracy in Venezuela, opposing U.S. interests in our hemisphere, and oppressing the Cuban people, it is crucial that we do all we can to deny U.S. dollars to that brutal dictatorship. I strongly support the President and his administration in tightening sanctions and continuing to support the Cuban people in their democratic aspirations.”