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  • A child stands in front of a Havana house adorned with U.S. and Cuba flags as relations between the two countries sink to a new low.

    A child stands in front of a Havana house adorned with U.S. and Cuba flags as relations between the two countries sink to a new low. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 November 2017
Opinion

Cuba's top diplomat for the Americas said the White House decision amounts to an "upsurge" of economic, commercial and financial sanctions.

Cuba has rejected outright new U.S. restrictions due to take effect on Thursday, describing them as confirming an "upsurge" of the blockade imposed by Washington since 1962.

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US Tightens Sanctions on Cuba With New Provisions

Cuba's top diplomat for the Americas, Josefina Vidal, said during a press conference on Wednesday that the new measures to prevent U.S. trade with and travel to the Caribbean island were "arbitrary."

Vidal said the White House decision – part of President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to overturn rapprochement efforts initiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama – amounted to an “upsurge” of economic, commercial and financial sanctions.

Addressing the assembled reporters, Vidal, general director for the U.S. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed that the Cuban government considered the measures "a serious setback in relations between the two countries."

Vidal condemned the modifications to people-to-people exchange regulations as politically motivated, and pointed to the decision to include a soft-drinks factory on the blacklist.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. State, Commerce and Treasury departments announced the adoption of "coordinated actions" to implement the document signed by Trump on June 16 in Miami, Florida.

The document, which introduced additional obstacles to business between the U.S. and Cuba, banned Americans from making transactions with more than 180 entities linked to the Caribbean nation’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, along with its security and intelligence services.

Under the new terms, U.S. citizens are now prohibited from conducting certain direct financial transactions with the blacklisted institutions, including more than 100 hotels, marinas and stores.

The document also obliges all independent "non-academic" educational visits to the island to be carried out under the auspices of organizations over which the U.S. has jurisdiction: a clause that had previously been rolled back by Obama.

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