Trump Unveils New Cuba Sanctions (On Alcohol & Tobacco) In "Fight Against Communist Oppression"

The trade restrictions against Cuba have been prolonged for another year, with President Trump citing "the national interest of the United States" on Wednesday. Specifically the ban on Cuban imports of tobacco and alcohol have been extended, and the tourism industry has been targeted.

Trump said at a mid-morning White House event:

"Today, as part of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will prohibit US travellers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government. We're also further restricting the importation of alcohol and Cuban tobacco."

This comes after Trump's reversing Obama-era relaxation of historic Cold War era sanctions on the communist-run island.

The president unveiled the sanctions during a speech recognizing Bay of Pigs Veterans hosted at the White House. “These actions will ensure that U.S. dollars do not fund the Cuban regime and go directly to the Cuban people,” he said.

Trump framed the measures as part of the “continuing fight against communist oppression.”

Since coming to office Trump has ramped up economic pressures on Havana, including sanctioning specific officials, related also to 'illicit' sanctions-busting cooperation with Maduro's Venezuela. 

Cuban cigars file image via Pretend Magazine

Many people might be thinking, however... why always target the good stuff like Cuban cigars? 

Of course, tobacco remains Cuba's number one export, accounting for just over 20% of the country's global exports in 2019, at an estimated $332.9 million.