Cubans face new limits to U.S. remittances, tourism

Cubans rely on $3.4B on U.S. remittances, experts say

HAVANA, Cuba – Cubans at Western Union stores in Havana reacted to the newly announced limitations the United States is placing on remittances to the island.

National security adviser John Bolton announced Wednesday in Coral Gables that President Donald Trump's administration will be limiting U.S. remittances to $1,000 per person, per quarter, which is about $330 monthly or $4,000 annually.

Odalys Salazar Gomez said she receives a montly allowance from her son, who lives in Hialeah. The limit would definetly hurt her and others who depend on remittances to cover their expenses.  

"At least in my opinion, it's criminal," Salazar Gomez said about the new policy.

According to the Cuban Consulting Group, Cubans receive about $3.4 billion a year in remittances from the U.S., so the policy change is certain to affect the island's economy. The change comes about a week after Raul Castro, now the leader of Cuba's Communist party, warned of of the deteriorating economy. 

There were long lines at supermarkets in Cuba. In the last couple of months, Cubans have been experiencing shortages of chicken, cooking oil, eggs and flour. 

Jerry Henderson arrived from the United States on the Norwegian Sun cruise ship to Havana on Wednesday. He wasn't happy when he learned the Trump will be restricting non-family travel to Cuba.

"Anything that Obama did, he is trying to stop," Henderson said.

The U.S. will also be allowing lawsuits against companies that are doing business in Cuba with property confiscated during Fidel Castro's revolution. Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez reacted to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement on Twitter.

"I strongly reject Sec. of State Pompeo announced activation of Title III of Helms-Burton Act. It is an attack against International Law and the sovereignty of Cuba and third states," Rodriguez wrote. "Aggressive escalation of US against Cuba will fail. As in Giron (Bay of Pigs), we shall overcome."


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