President Donald Trump has imposed more stringent restrictions on US citizens traveling to Cuba in an attempt to isolate the country’s communist neighbor.
Under the new restrictions, US citizens may not conduct educational and cultural trips to Cuba, nor can US cruise ships stop at the island.
However, the US government stopped short of restricting commercial flights to Cuba.
Analysts see the new policy is a roll-back of Obama-era efforts to improve relations with Havana.
Cruise travel had become popular among US citizens wanting to visit Cuba, which lies around 90 miles off the Florida coast.
Some 142,721 US travelers used cruise ships to travel to the island in the first four months of this year, according to AP.
US relations with Cuba have deteriorated significantly under Trump, with the US accusing the country of propping up its adversaries in the region, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that the restrictions are a result of Cuba continuing “to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up US adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes.”
Former President Barack Obama had hoped that lifting sanctions against the island would free Cubans from the shackles of dictatorial regime, putting pressure on the communist rulers to adopt democratic approaches.