The Trump administration will begin enforcing new restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, implementing changes the president outlined in June.

Key points:

  • The administration will reinstate a requirement that “people-to-people” visits be led by regulated tour groups; however, those who made travel arrangements before the president’s June 16 speech will be able to carry out their travel as planned.
  • The administration has banned doing business with a host of hotels and other businesses that it says have ties to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. The full list of restricted entities was published Wednesday on the State Department website.
  • The administration will not cut diplomatic ties with Cuba, and the embassy in Havana will remain open. Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba have been even more strained than usual in recent months, however, with the State Department saying that a number of embassy workers have been targeted for attacks that have left some of the workers with symptoms ranging from dizziness and fatigue to hearing loss and cognitive impairment. The State Department warned U.S. citizens against travel to Cuba in September.

BAL Analysis: The changes, which will take effect Thursday, reflect President Trump’s policy goal of taking a harder line on Cuba. Trump has not reversed all of former president Barack Obama’s Cuba policies, however, and the U.S. and Cuba will maintain diplomatic ties. The State Department continues to advise against traveling to Cuba, though the restrictions the administration put in place this week have been in the works for months and are unrelated to the State Department’s Sept. 29 travel warning.