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"The Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba," national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday. “These new measures will help steer Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime.”
The changes, Business Insider explained, will restrict non-family travel to Cuba. That could make a huge impact on both the cruise industry as well as airlines that have opened service to the nation after former President Barack Obama opened up relations during his term.
Bolton’s speech, The Hill noted, was made in Miami in front of a Bay of Pigs veterans group in honor of the 58th anniversary of the failed CIA-orchestrated invasion of Cuba in 1961. The timing wasn’t lost on Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to Obama on foreign policy. After the speech, Rhodes tweeted: “Fitting because Trump's Cuba policy will be as successful as the Bay of Pigs invasion. Soon enough, Trump will no longer be President, and the inevitable direction is more engagement, more travel, and more connection between Americans and Cubans.”
Beyond the new travel rules, The Washington Post explained, other restrictions include a limit on how much money Cuban Americans can send to relatives still living on the island.
"American foreign policy should be based on the pursuit of American national interest. I think that’s what this decision with Cuba reflect,” Bolton additionally told MSNBC's MTP Daily, as to why the administration implemented the new restrictions. “Sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of American interest, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different, and I don’t think we need to make any apologies for that," he added. "Not this administration, or not other administrations.”
These aren't the first restrictions aimed at Cuba from the current administration. As NBC noted, in the first few months of his presidency, Trump tightened travel and business restrictions on Cuba, and just last month blocked a deal intended to make it easier for Cuban baseball players to legally play in the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the actions are just the administration’s latest effort to roll back the efforts of Obama and his administration’s attempts to open relations with Havana.
"The reality is that the Obama government sought to normalize relations with a tyrannical dictatorship," Bolton added in his speech.
Furthermore, The Washington Post added, the new restrictions are also likely an effort to punish Cuba for its support of the Venezuelan government and particularly of President Nicolás Maduro. That is because Trump, The Washington Post explained, along with many other countries in Latin America, recognized Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, as Venezuela's legitimate interim president.
"The walls are closing in," Bolton said of Maduro. "There is no turning back. The people will prevail. And when they do, we know that Cuba will be next. And soon after, we pray, the third member of the Troika, Nicaragua, will also, at last, be free."