MIAMI, FLORIDA - Today, President of Engage Cuba, James Williams released the following statement after President Trump announced his Cuba directive in Miami:
"Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of Americans have traveled to Cuba, stayed in private homes, eaten at privately owned restaurants, taken private taxi cabs and engaged with the Cuban people. Americans are significantly contributing to the growth of Cuba’s private sector. You would be hard pressed to find a Cuban living on the island who would say that U.S. engagement has not improved their lives.
"We are encouraged that the Trump Administration wants to help Cuba’s private sector. Unfortunately, the people who will be most negatively impacted by this directive are Cuban entrepreneurs.
"The confusion that will surround this policy will undoubtedly stifle U.S. demand to travel to the island. Additionally, by requiring Americans to travel in tour groups, the Administration is not only making it more expensive for everyday Americans to travel to island, but pushing them away from staying in private homes – which are unable to accommodate large tour groups – and into state run hotels.
"Opening up trade with Cuba has allowed U.S. businesses to gain a foothold in a growing market 90 miles away and create American jobs across the country. Given the intertwinement of Cuba’s economy, these new restrictions on U.S. businesses could hinder that progress which could cost the U.S. economy billions and affect thousands of jobs.
"If the goal is to help Cuban entrepreneurs, adding job-killing regulations on U.S. businesses and increasing government resources to investigate everyday Americans traveling to our island neighbor is not the answer.
"In order to craft a policy that truly empowers the Cuban people, it is imperative that individuals writing our Cuba policy visit the island to fully understand how the Cuban economy and private sector work.
"We’re hopeful that over the next 90 days, the Administration works with the business community and Cuban economy, academic and human rights experts to ensure that President Trump’s policy indeed works to empower the Cuban people, without infringing on the rights of Americans to travel freely.
"Today was the speech. Tomorrow, we get back to work."
Banner photo: Miami New Times