Trump's Changes to U.S. - Cuba Deal Might be Headed Our Way Soon.

In June, President Donald Trump announced a cancelation to the post-December 14, 2014 U.S. policy towards Cuba. While speaking before prominent members of the Cuban American community in Miami in June, President Trump stated he is “canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba,” with changes to take effect once the regulations are officially issued by the different U.S. government departments. The department of Treasury, along with its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), as well as the Department of Commerce, will be among the departments having 30 days to review the changes the President has provided. After the 30 day review, the departments begin drafting the new regulations; as such, it may be months before the new regulations take effect.   

Some of the policy’s most noteworthy changes will likely result in U.S. business entities and individuals not being able to engage in lawful commercial transactions with Cuban entities that are related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services; and also requiring Americans that were able to travel to Cuba under an individual people to people general license on their own, to once again travel solely in group people to people travel, which requires a tour operator.

Again, none of the potential changes would become effective until the regulations are issued by the respective departments. It should also be noted that any changes to the regulations would most likely be prospective, and thus will not affect existing contracts and licenses given to U.S. businesses.

However, while President Trump has claimed he is “canceling” the engagement between the United States and Cuba, many of President Barak Obama’s 2014 policy changes will remain unaffected. For example, the U.S. embassy in Havana will remain open, as will the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C.

Similarly, commercial flights and cruise ships will continue to be able to travel to the island; likewise, the $2,000.00 limit on remittances that can be sent to nonfamily members in Cuba, as well as the change to allow travelers to carry as much as $10,000.00 to Cuba will also remain unaffected.

Notably, President Trump did not reverse Obama’s elimination of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy – the policy that previously gave Cubans a special status and authorization to stay when they reached the United States, and has also not changed regulations restricting the types of good Americans can take out of Cuba, including the country’s popular rum and cigars.