By Cailyn Carr 11/9/2017

The Trump administration is taking steps to isolate Cuba, undoing President Obama’s efforts to relax tensions with our Communist island neighbor. The United States Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs on Wednesday released a list of Cuban entities barred from doing business with the United States. They include hotels, stores, marinas, and tourist agencies. The Trump administration did not explicitly ban travel to Cuba, but by restricting dealings with nearly 200 Cuban businesses, it certainly discourages it.

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American visitors to Cuba will now have to book their trips through U.S. authorized tour agencies and be accompanied by a tour guide throughout their travels in the country. This will undoubtedly increase costs for tourists.

Administration officials, in a conference call with reporters, said that these restrictions are aimed at directing money away from the Cuban military, which effectively runs the country. The administration claimed that this will bolster businesses owned by Cuban citizens. The rentals of rooms and cars from private Cuban citizens will continue to be allowed.

Wednesday’s announcement followed the Trump administration’s continued objection to a United Nations General Assembly resolution which disapproved of America’s trade embargo with Cuba. Trump has repeatedly expressed his determination to stand up to the Cuban government using economic means. The President promised in a speech in June to “not be silent in the face of communist oppression any longer.”

Trump, after unknown ailments struck two dozen U.S. embassy workers, dismissed 15 Cuban diplomats from the U.S. The Cuban government denied allegations of having any involvement in the mysterious illnesses, saying that any reports of the ailments as an attack on American diplomats are lies. The Trump administration denies any connection between this diplomatic dispute and the barring of Cuban businesses.

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