With all the overwhelming experiences and conditions encountered by Cuba travelers, the view of perfectly clean beaches, wildlife-rich rainforest, tumbling waterfalls, verdant hills, mountain ranges, and vibrant cities, this experience is almost coming to an end.
On Tuesday 4, 2019 the Trump administration announced new restriction of eliminating and ending all means that were previously used to travel to Cuba by the U.S passengers. The intention was to stop the U.S dollar from reaching the hands of the island’s communist government, the cruise ships and group tours from the U.S. were therefore banned effectively.
The opening of the island that was made back in 2016 by President Barack Obama eased travel restriction from the U.S. to Cuba which provided a simple, one-stop, guaranteed-legal way to travel. These then become one of the best ways of U.S. leisure travel to the island and it has increased in 300%in the last few months.
According to Cruise Line International Associate, the restriction of America travel to Cuba has resulted to negative impact upon the over 800, 000 cruise passengers bookings.
As addressed by the Commerce Department. He said, “Cruise ships, as well as recreational and pleasure vessels, are prohibited from departing the U.S. on temporary sojourn to Cuba effective”.
The new restriction is considered as part of a wider effort by the Trump administration, which is intending to restore the Obama-era to build a normal relationship between the United States and the Cuba that drew criticism from the Cuban American community and their allies.
Earlier on as John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser was blocking out plans for sanction in November, he declared Cuba as part of a “troika of tyranny” together with Nicaragua and Venezuela. He stated that the objective of the new policy is to refuse the Cuban government a vital source of revenue.
Bolton said. “The Administration has advanced the president’s Cuba policy by ending ‘veiled tourism’ to Cuba and imposing a restriction on vessels,” he also said on Twitter. “We will continue to take action to restrict the Cuban regime’s access to the U.S. dollar.”
Last month the Cuban government forced food rationing that led to tightening of U.S. sanction and
Due to the tightened U.S sanctions accompanied by a drop in the subsided oil, the Cuban government pushed for food rationing in May. This restricted other forms of aid coming in from Venezuela. However, the Cuban government managed to secure millions of dollars every year in docking fees and payments made from on-shore excursions despite the fact that these figures were never released to the public. The income is due to the frequency of cruise lines. Currently, Cuba is the most-requested destination for a majority of South Florida’s based cruise lines.
Marco Rubio, therefore, pushes the United State to use all means available to counter the Cuban regime’s deceitful activities so as to undermine the U.S. policy.
Questions against the Cruise lines and Passengers
For those who had already paid for a trip to proceed as said by the government while new the restriction is said to take effect on Wednesday. But the action taken on passengers has not been clarified.
Roger Frizzell the carnival corporation spokesman said “due to the changes in U.S. policy, the company will no longer be permitted to sail to Cuba effective immediately,” He, therefore, concluded that the Holland America and Seabourn will give the lead to passengers who have already booked cruises affected by the ban.
A request had been made earlier by the cruise line asking for permission to carry on with the trip since they have passengers who had booked before Tuesday but the request was denied unless the cruise line request for a specific license.
Carnival is not the only line affected, there are other Cuban-based cruise ships companies trying to figure out the implications such as:
. The Royal Caribbean has ships and passengers that were affected immediately taking them time to adjust their cruise ship stops as well as communicate the changes to their guests.
.The Regent Seven Sea cruises spokesman, Joe Chabus, in an email expressed their companies need for evaluation and developments to adhere to the ban.
.Norwegian Cruise Line as they are examining the new rule and consulting with lawyers and trade experts.
. Future expansion of the new line has also been widely affected. Some cruise ship companies such as Virgin Voyage were looking forward to expanding and venture into the Cuban territory in the year 2020. Plans were short-lived after the restriction to Cuban travel activities causing a halt to the underway plans.
“Without warning, the CLIA cruise line member is forced to eliminate all Cuba destinations from all itineraries effective immediately. This affects nearly 800,000 passengers booking that is scheduled or already underway. All these bookings had been made under general licensed previously issued by the United States Government that authorized “people to people” travel to Cuba”. said Megan King.
Most private plane and boats are also banned
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed himself by saying.
“This administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime,” Mnuchin said. “These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of the Cuban military, intelligence and security services.”
The United States is prohibiting the use of most private planes and boats following the ban of the Cruise ships. Despite the ban, cruise ships have currently become more popular in leisure travel to Cuba as compared to travel by flight.
Although there has been an increase in the use of cruise ships into the island, this aspect has not affected the commercial airline flights to the same destination. Commercial flights remain unaffected due to the terms of measure placed for journalism, academic research, university groups, as well as professional meetings.
The restrictions have been termed political in an effort to help run for the 2020 elections as described by Collin Laverty, head of Cuba Educational Travel. In addition, he states that the move will not only affect Cuban’s economic state but also that of U.S. companies who provide employment and pay taxes in their home country.
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