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Washington:

The US has announced major new travel restriction on its citizens travelling to Cuba, including a ban on cruises, in a bid to further pressure the communist island over its support for Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro. Americans have not been able to travel freely to Cuba but were able to do so as part of organized travel groups.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that the US will no longer allow the group educational and cultural trips known as “people-to-people” travel to the island. Those trips have been used by thousands of American citizens to visit the island.

Cruise ships were also one of the primary ways that American citizens could avoid running afoul of federal regulations when they travelled to Cuba. That will soon no longer be the case. “The United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft,” the State Department said in a statement. According to the Cuban government, 257,500 US citizens have visited Cuba from January through March.

After President Donald Trump came to office in January 2017 promising to reverse Obama’s thaw with Cuba, he banned individual visits and, in a series of moves, limited commercial interactions with the country.

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