Published on : Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Americans aboard cruise ships docking in Havana used to account for the bulk of many business owners. But on June 4, the Trump administration announced that Americans could no longer travel to Cuba on cruise ships, and also did away with a category of travel known as people-to-people group tours.
Many business owners had a good living after President Obama made it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba in 2015. The Trump administration started changing all that, and with the newest limitations on American travel, many are expected to go out of business.
Cuba’s fledgling private-sector workers — cab drivers, tour guides, souvenir sellers, restaurateurs, bed and breakfast operators are already feeling the pinch.
Trump, in a June 2017 speech in Miami, declared that his new policies toward Cuba would bypass “the military and government to help the Cuban people form businesses and pursue much better lives.”
“I would say business is down 60% since the cruises stopped,” said Adrian Alberto, a vendor, sitting unhappy on a mosaic-encrusted bench. “Business is down so much you can practically weep,” echoed fellow vendor Yoan Perdomo Viort.
“The Irma-Trump combination hasn’t been good,” added Gallina, an Italian who quit his job at the World Bank and came to the island with his Cuban wife in 2012.