President Trump on Friday signed an expected memorandum directing the creation of new regulations rolling back travel rights to Cuba and restricting financial transactions with entities linked to Cuba’s intelligence, military and security services. The order bans individual, self-directed "people-to-people" travel, but 12 general categories of authorized travel -- which encompass travel for organized study abroad programs and for professional research and conferences -- will continue to be permitted.
The U.S. embassy in Havana, which opened in 2015, will remain open.
“Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America. We do not want U.S. dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba,” Trump said Friday in Miami. But academic groups opposed the rollback of President Obama’s policies toward greater engagement with Cuba.
“Regressing to past travel and trade restrictions with Cuba will only pull America back into a 50-year-old failed policy of isolation with the island nation and restrict our ability to learn from one another,” said Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which called on Congress to pass legislation repealing restrictions on travel and trade to Cuba.
Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, issued a statement expressing concern “about President Trump’s announcement that he will walk back relations between the United States and Cuba, and the potential negative impact on cooperation between scientists in our two countries.”