Close, But No Cigars Or Booze: US Announces New Sanctions on Cuba Over Venezuela.

Photo: Les Haines/Flidkr. A Cuban cigar maker roles a cigar by hand.
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(MercoPress). WASHINGTON, DC–US President Donald Trump announced new sanctions related to Cuba on Wednesday that will prohibit Americans from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government as well as the import of Cuban cigars and liquor.

“Today, as part of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will prohibit US travelers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government,” Trump said at a White House event.

“We’re also further restricting the importation of alcohol and Cuban tobacco,” the Republican president said at the ceremony honoring Bay of Pigs veterans and commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Mariel boatlift that brought 120,000 Cubans to Miami.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has moved to tighten restrictions on Cuba that were loosened by his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama.

In June 2019, the Trump administration imposed heavy new restrictions on travel to Cuba, saying the move aimed to further pressure the Communist government over its support for Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

The Treasury Department said at the time the United States would no longer allow group people-to-people educational travel, one of the most popular exemptions to the overall ban on US tourism to Cuba.

It also said it would no longer authorize passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft to travel to Cuba.

The United States has had an embargo in place on Cuba since 1960, shortly after the Cuban revolution that brough Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba to power.

The Cuban government frequently blames the US “bloqueado” for the economic problems of Cuba.

The United States has often threatened to stop financial aid to other countries if they trade non-food items with Cuba. However, because the embargo is not popularly supported internationally and other countries are not under the jurisdiction of U.S. law, U.S. attempts to discourage its allies from trading with Cuba have not been successful and Cuba still trades with many other countries.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured South American last week seeking support for the campaign against the government of President Maduro in Venezuela, but no other country has yet been subject to trade sanctions for supporting Venezuela.

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