National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday announced new restrictions the Trump administration is imposing on travel to Cuba as well as the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to relatives on the island.
Bolton summarized the new restrictions during a speech in Miami, which he said are linked to the Cuban government’s support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
He also made it clear this move is part of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back former President Barack Obama’s decision to open up travel and economic activities with Cuba.
“In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban colonization of Venezuela today,” Bolton said.
The national security adviser added that changes are meant to reverse “the disastrous Obama-era policies, and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism,” The Miami Herald reported.
“The reality is that the Obama government sought to normalize relations with a tyrannical dictatorship,” Bolton added.
The changes will restrict non-family travel to Cuba, which could impact both cruise and air travel that picked up after Obama opened up relations, and limit remittances — money sent abroad — to $1000 per person every three months.
“These new measures will help steer Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime,” Bolton said.
Bolton’s speech was delivered on the 58th anniversary of the failed CIA-coordinated invasion of the Cuba in 1961, known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It also came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the State Department will allow Cuban Americans to sue foreign companies that seized property in the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Responding to Bolton’s announcement, Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to Obama on foreign policy, tweeted that the timing of the changes were “fitting because Trump’s Cuba policy will be as successful as the Bay of Pigs invasion.”
Rhodes, the architect of Obama’s Cuba opening, added, “Soon, Trump will no longer be President, and the inevitable direction is more engagement, more travel, and more connection between Americans and Cubans.”
In a separate tweet, Rhodes said Bolton is “telling Americans where they can and can’t travel,” adding, “this is the opposite of freedom — it’s autocracy.”