United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the new restrictions were put in place this week to “destabilize” Cuba’s role in Latin America, especially its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
The U.S. supports Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido who declared himself interim president last January. Since that time he and the Trump administration have attempted several times to overthrow democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.
"Cuba's solidarity with the constitutional President Nicolas Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution and the civil-military union of its people, is not negotiable," a Thursday-released official statement from the government read.
Starting June 5, U.S. citizens are prohibited from making group educational and cultural trips known as 'people to people' travel to Cuba.
By imposing these measures, the U.S. reinforced more than 60 years of the economic blockade on the country that has lost US$ 933 billion so far due to the economic blocks.
According to the commercial director at Cuba's tourism ministry, Michel Bernal, the island nation received about 250,000 U.S. visitors in the first four months of 2019, a 93.5 percent increase from the same period in 2018.
The Cuban government also said that the more than 20,000 Cubans are living in Venezuela providing social services to the people, especially in the health sector, will continue doing so as long as Venezuelan people will welcome them.