Trump’s Changes to Cuba Policy

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Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte

This afternoon, Trump officially turned back the clock on U.S.-Cuba relations.
His new policy—which is the result of brazen politics—will make it harder for Americans to do business with and travel to Cuba and, worst of all, hurt ordinary Cubans.

Even though the details won’t be clear until the new regulations are officially issued by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce, this is our current understanding of the implications of Trump’s announcement:

What we know so far

      • Individual “People-to-people” travel will end

Trump’s new policy ends individual “people-to-people” travel, one of the 12 travel categories authorized under President Obama. Instead, you’ll have to go in a group with a U.S. tour company approved by the Treasury Department. This category was intended to promote engagement between Americans and Cubans.

      • Travel will be audited

Any Americans who travel under one of the remaining pre-approved categories will now be subject to a cumbersome Treasury Department audit. This complicates and discourages travel to the island.

      • Transactions with Cuban businesses will be restricted

Transactions with any business linked to the Cuban military are banned. This includes an estimated 60% of all Cuban businesses, and many of those affiliated with the tourism industry.

      • U.S. delegation to the U.N. will support the embargo

This year, we can expect a “No” vote from the United States on the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo of the island nation.

      • There’s a 90-day grace period

If your trip to Cuba is within the next 90 days, Trump can’t interfere. The policy directs the Treasury and Commerce Departments to begin the process of issuing new regulations within 30 days, and changes will not take effect until those Departments have finalized their new regulations.


While this does not constitute a full reversal of the Obama opening, Trump’s actions ignore the will of the Cuban people and the majority of Americans just so that he can reward a handful of shortsighted hardliners. What’s more, they set the stage for increased animosity between both countries at the expense of their own people.

It didn’t have to be this way, but it won’t stay this way. Together, we’ll overcome this setback and push back harder than before. So, stay tuned for updates on how to take action!