The regulations announced yesterday are highly counterproductive. Instead of supporting the Cuban private sector, as the administration has stated, new travel rules harm Cuban entrepreneurs and their employees by making it more difficult for individual Americans to visit the island and patronize their businesses. Rather than deal a lasting blow to the Cuban military, the ban on U.S. interaction with 180 Cuban state enterprises imposes unwieldly, and arguably unenforceable, regulatory burdens on U.S. citizens. More generally, these measures represent a setback to the broader process of normalization, which continues to be overwhelmingly popular with both the U.S. and Cuban people.

The Cuba Study Group disagrees, in particular, with the Trump administration’s decision to ban non-academic educational and individual people-to-people travel. The free flow of people, ideas, information, and goods helps, rather than hinders, the cause of meaningful reform on the island. Moreover, U.S. travelers frequent privately-owned rooms and other small businesses at a higher rate than visitors from any other country. President Trump’s measures will therefore hit the island’s private sector hardest, not the government, as tourists from other countries will continue to patronize state-owned companies and hotels.

Raúl Castro is slated to step down from the presidency in early 2018. At the same time, the country’s internal economic agenda has stagnated, and Hurricane Irma just devastated wide swaths of the island’s northern coast. At this juncture of uncertainty and transition, it is in the best interest of the United States to remain engaged as the island confronts multiple challenges. By providing the Cuban government an excuse to revive a siege mentality, the Trump administration’s policies ultimately favor those in Cuba in a position to benefit most from the status quo where essential economic and political reforms continue to be neglected. As in the pre-normalization era, the Cuban people, and not the Cuban government, will most keenly feel the results.

Recent Articles

Date Title
11/29/17 Meet the fashion brand bringing Cuban design to the world
Tyler Wetherall, The Guardian
11/29/17 United States bans most government scientists from travel to Cuba
Richard Stone, Science
11/29/17 Nestle, Cuba Lay First Stone for $55 Million Coffee and Biscuit Factory
Sarah Marsh, Reuters
11/29/17 Cruise ship executives want US and Cuba to 'work out their differences'
Hatzel Vela, WPLG
11/28/17 Uzbekistan incident raises suspicions of Russian involvement in Cuba attacks
Steve Dorsey, CBS News
11/27/17 Cuba begins harvest of weather-battered sugar crop
Marc Frank, Reuters
11/27/17 Your Mind is in Prison: Cuba's Web of Control Over Free Expression and Its Chilling Expression on Everyday Life
Amnesty International
11/27/17 Armando Hart, Castro loyalist during Cuban revolution, dies at 87
Michael Weissenstein, Washington Post
11/26/17 One year later, Fidel Castro’s death met with tributes in Cuba — and a shrug in Miami
Mimi Whitefield and Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
11/26/17 'The Highlight Of My Career': Diplo On Major Lazer Performing In Cuba
Michel Martin, NPR
11/26/17 Cuba holds municipal elections on road to Castro era’s end
Marc Frank, Reuters
11/21/17 Trump Is Returning Cuba Policy to the Cold War
Vicki Huddleston, New York Times
11/21/17 Raúl Castro: Will he stay in power in Cuba or retire?
Mimi Whitefield and Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald
11/21/17 Cuba flights getting scarcer, but MIA still the premier gateway to get there
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
11/20/17 U.S. Tour Operators Optimistic About Cuba Travel Because They’re Even More Essential
Dan Peltier, Skift
11/19/17 Amid growing isolation, North Korea falls back on close ties with Cuba
Adam Taylor, Washington Post
11/19/17 Yes, you can still travel to Cuba — but make sure you know the new rules
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
11/16/17 Cuba takes to the web for ‘scientific exchange’ on acoustic attacks on U.S. diplomats
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
11/15/17 Alaska Airlines to halt flights to Cuba
AP, Washington Post
11/15/17 Trump’s Cold-War Politics Are Hurting Ordinary Cubans
Sujatha Fernandes, The Nation
11/13/17 Inside Cuba's National Ballet School
Rachel Brown, National Geographic
11/13/17 Cuba: Trump regulations a ‘serious setback’ in U.S.-Cuba relations
Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
11/13/17 Cuba Tour Operators Relieved as State Department Spells Out New Hotel Restrictions
Stanley Jones, Travel Market Report
11/12/17 Under Trump, new rules for Cuba, yet again
Emiliy Mendrala, The Hill
11/12/17 Cuba attack mystery may be Cold War flashback, officials say
Ali Watkins, Politico
11/12/17 It’s your Cuba policy, Miami Republicans. You can’t blame Obama now.
Fabiola Santiago, El Nuevo Herald
11/9/17 Current Record
11/8/17 Rubio and other Miami Republicans blame ‘bureaucrats’ for softening Trump Cuba policy
Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald
11/8/17 What Trump’s Cuba crackdown will look like
Patricia Mazzei, Nora Gámez Torres, and Mimi Whitefield, Miami Herald
11/7/17 Cuban government claims more tourists visiting island than ever before
Hatzel Vela, WPLG
11/2/17 Cuba’s Cultural Sector Slammed By Partial Closure of US Embassy
Isabel Albee, Huff Post
11/1/17 Caterpillar dealer to open shop in Cuba special development zone
Marc Frank, Reuters
11/1/17 U.S. and Israel only nations to vote no on U.N. resolution condemning embargo against Cuba
Mimi Whitefiled, Miami Herald