Travel to Cuba as part of a formal, credit-bearing program and for academic research should therefore not be affected by the planned changes. Treasury has also confirmed that any Cuba-related commercial engagement or travel-related arrangements that include direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new policy will be permitted if they are in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations. Only group-organized, people-to-people travel for educational purposes will continue to be authorized.
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban Foreign Minister, reiterated today from Vienna, Austria, the willingness of the Cuban government to continue dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest with the United States on the basis of equality and respect.
"People-to-people interactions, however, allow for increased cultural understanding between Cubans and Americans, helping to overcome mistrust between the two nations", he commented.
The new policy also leaves intact most aspects of the Obama Administration's relaxed requirements for travel to Cuba, including the general license authorizing travel for business meetings or professional research. "The fruits of investment in Cuba should benefit individuals and families, and not the security forces".
Supporters of the embargo cite Cuba's ongoing human rights abuses and restrictions on free trade as reasons for Cuba to remain an unacceptable trading partner barring substantial political change. "I am announcing a new policy, just as I promised in the [presidential election] campaign".
"Today is a major setback for global relations, NAFSA, our allies and the Cuban and American people", commented Jill Welch, deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA. Cuba, having granted political asylum to one of America's Most Wanted, falls in line with the former and does not plan on relinquishing her. GAESA reportedly has a wide-ranging reach that extends into many facets of the Cuban economy, and thus this provision is likely to require more nuanced licensing and compliance assessments and may impose a more onerous burden on United States persons considering entering into otherwise-allowable transactions with Cuba. Everybody loses. Our image suffers, our businesses suffer, and Cuba suffers.