The United States on Wednesday announced new sanctions against Cuba, aimed at further denying sources of revenue to the government in Havana.
U.S. President Donald Trump said the sanctions prohibit Americans from residing at Cuban government-owned properties and importing Cuban cigars and liquor.
Trump made the announcement at a White House event honoring Bay of Pigs veterans and observing the 40th anniversary of the Mariel boatlift that transported 120,000 Cubans to Miami.
Trump has tightened restrictions that were relaxed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump imposed stringent travel restrictions on Cuba in June 2019, maintaining they were designed to apply more pressure on the communist government because of its support of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The Treasury Department said then the U.S. banned people-to-people educational travel to Cuba, one of a dozen authorized categories of travel to the country, and one of the most popular exemptions to the broad ban on U.S. tourism to the island.
The island’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, described the Trump administration as a “morally corrupt regime,” in recorded comments made this week before a session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The U.S. sanctions have further weakened Cuba’s economy, which was already contracting as a result of declining aid from Venezuela.
The latest sanctions come as Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are in a tight race in Florida just weeks before the November 3 election.
Trump won the southern state by 1.2 percentage points in 2016. Florida is a state where Trump’s advisers believe a tough stand against Cuba would be well received by its large Cuban-American population.