Americans visiting Cuba are going to be prohibited from staying at 433 hotels that are believed to be owned or controlled by the government or “certain well-connected insiders,” the State Department announced Wednesday.

The order was taken as part of a broader effort announced by President Donald Trump to tighten restrictions on the Cuban government, a sharp reversal from the more open policies toward the island nation under President Barack Obama.

“Today we reaffirm our ironclad solidarity with the Cuban people and our eternal conviction that freedom will prevail over the sinister forces of communism and evil in many different forms,” Trump said in remarks meant to honor veterans of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, in which Cuban exiles attempted to launch an invasion of their homeland. “Today we declare America’s unwavering commitment to a free Cuba.”

The sanctions come amid a tight race for the presidency ahead of the Nov. 3 election in the critical swing state of Florida where Cuban-Americans are an important voting bloc.

In announcing the list of hotels, the State Department said the profits from them “disproportionately benefit the Cuban government, all at the expense of the Cuban people, who continue to face repression at the hands of the regime.”

Read more…