Traveling to Cuba has always been a complex endeavor for Americans, but it’s about to get even more difficult. The Trump administration has already imposed harsh sanctions on Cuba — including banning cruise ships from visiting the country — to pressure the Cuban government to hold multi-party elections, stop harassing political opponents, and end its support of the regime in Venezuela. Now another strict sanction is being added — flights from the US to nine destinations around Cuba will be cut.
The flight drawdown is being enacted to deprive the Cuban military of its tourism-related income, as the army runs much of the country’s tourism industry. President Trump is acting on his promise to Cuban-Americans that he would be tougher on Cuba.
Although the sanctions are an effort to force Cuba into improving its human rights record, conditions have arguably worsened since Trump took office. Government critics continue to be arrested without cause, and dissident groups are still experiencing persecution. It remains to be seen whether these new tourism-based sanctions make a difference.