The United States has blacklisted several Cuban firms, including dozens of state-owned companies, in a push by the Donald Trump administration to restrict Americans from dealing with the communist island.
The new restrictions published this week may reverse the attempt by the previous Obama administration to normalize binational relations.
From now on, Americans travelling to the island will have to go as part of organized tour groups; they must not visit any restaurants, stores, and enterprises that are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government.
About 180 state-owned and military-controlled enterprises have been blacklisted.
The new measures, analysts say, are designed to force the communist regime to ease its suffocating grip on citizens and free them to live life normally.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement: “We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people.”
American companies that have already signed business contracts with Cuba can however move ahead with their plans, says The Washington Post, adding that US airlines and cruise ships will continue to operate normally.
The American excitement about the new relationship with Cuba has almost been soured. President Trump believes that ‘normalizing relations’ would only prop up the communist regime on the island.
About a month ago, the US cut staff at its embassy in Havana, saying many of its employees had been the victims of sonic attacks. Cuba has strongly denied the allegations.