US tourism to Cuba doubles after Trump’s “full and complete embargo” threats
Despite Trump administration’s pressure on Cuba and threats to impose a “full and complete embargo”, US tourists have been flocking to the country in record numbers, according to data provided by Cuban authorities.
According to Trump’s regime, Cuba is a villain that impedes the ascent of democracy in Venezuela by keeping the crisis-hit country under “occupation.” However, that doesn’t seem to do much to discourage US tourists from swarming the island’s world-famous white sand beaches.
Michel Bernal, commercial director at Cuba’s tourism ministry, said Monday that there has been an almost twofold increase in visitors from the US in the first four months of the year. 93.5 percent more US citizens visited Cuba from January to April than during the same period of last year, he said, as quoted by Granma.
That has made the US one of the top two countries that supply tourists to Cuba. The US only trails behind its northern neighbor, Canada.
Cuba saw a seven percent increase in total tourist arrivals compared to the previous year. Bernal noted that, while choosing their holiday destination, visitors apparently paid no heed to Trump’s rhetoric.
“Despite defamatory campaigns against Cuba, 13.5 percent of tourists that visit us say they chose the island for its safety,” he said.
A total of 1.93 million foreign visitors came to Cuba in the first quarter of 2019. While the number of tourists to Cuba in on the rise, there has been a mild setback in terms of European arrivals. The number of visitors from Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain decreased on average by 10-13 percent.
Trump administration has been piling pressure on Cuba, the main ally of Caracas.
Reversing the Obama administration’s détente with Cuba, Trump’s White House threatened to impose a “full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions” on Cuba if it does not withdraw its support from Maduro.
US special representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams has indicated that Washington plans to slap new sanctions on Havana if it does not cease backing Maduro.
“We will have more sanctions,” Abrams told the Washington Free Beacon, in an interview on Monday, adding that the new measures might be unveiled “over the next weeks.”
“There is a long list and we are basically going down the list,” Abrams said.