The US Treasury Department has banned Americans from importing rum or cigars from Cuba to the US and from staying in hotels owned by the Cuban government, US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.
Trump reverses Obama’s agreements
“Today, as part of our ongoing fight against communist oppression, I announce that the Treasury Department will prohibit US travelers from staying in places owned by the Cuban government,” Trump said.
“We are also limiting the importance of alcohol and Cuban tobacco,” said the president. Americans are still allowed to purchase rum and cigars in Cuba, but it is no longer allowed to take the funds back to the US.
Trump announced the sanctions at a ceremony for veterans who took part in Cuba’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. The US supported that invasion.
The relationship between the US and Cuba has been bad for years. In December 2014, former US President Barack Obama and Raul Castro, then President of Cuba, decided to calm the tense relationship. In 2016, Obama became the first US president in 88 years to visit the island.
Obama allowed Americans to carry as much Cuban rum and cigars as they could in their personal luggage, as long as it was for their own use. Obama also ended the rule that Americans can only enter the country on group trips.
After his inauguration, Trump partially reversed the agreements between the US and Cuba in June 2017. For example, stricter rules for travel to the communist country and restrictions on economic trade were introduced. It also became more difficult for Americans to travel individually to Cuba.