Governments have too much power over people. But most of us can’t truly grasp how deep this power goes until our lives are completely changed by a new policy.
Three years after President Obama lessened travel restraints to Cuba, the Trump administration imposed new restrictions for American tourists. This new policy impacts private and corporate planes and boats, cruise ship tours, and other group trips to the island nation.
In a statement to the press, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the travel ban was reinstated because of the “destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes.”
With the new restrictions, Mnuchin said, the administration hopes “to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”
On Twitter, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla said the U.S. wants to “[suffocate] the economy & [harm] the living standards of Cubans in order to forcefully obtain political concessions.”
Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, strongly criticized the new travel sanctions.
“I strongly reject new sanctions announced by #US vs. #Cuba which further restrict #US citizens’ travels to Cuba, aimed at suffocating the economy & harming the living standards of Cubans in order to forcefully obtain political concessions,” Parrilla wrote on Twitter. “Once again they will fail.”
Regardless of how he feels, the conflict between the U.S. government and the Cuban regime shouldn’t impact people who have nothing to do with it. Whether officials of both countries recognize this or not, they have no legitimate authority over people’s lives.
Government Shouldn’t Dictate Travel Policy
This new attack on Cuba, Mnuchin himself admitted in his statement, is due to Cuba’s close association with Venezuela. But because these restrictions impact Cuban citizens directly, as many are only able to make a living thanks to U.S. tourists, Trump’s move might as well be seen as an act of war.
Whether you support the oppressive regimes in both Venezuela and Cuba or not, the nature of the current administration’s policy can’t be ignored, as it puts America, once again, in the role of the world’s police. And as we’ve seen in the past, to play this role means to put innocent people’s lives in jeopardy.
While to some, it might seem OK to punish the entire country for its corrupt government, the reality is that Cubans aren’t in love with communism. Quite the contrary, many agree that their government doesn’t represent them. But when the United States imposes sanctions or travel bans, it ends up fueling Cuban state propaganda while restricting the individual’s right to do what he or she pleases with their own money. In the end, those who hurt the most are the Cuban people, many whose livelihood depend on exchange with foreigners.