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Cruise Line Stocks Fall As Trump Administration Tightens Restrictions On Cuba, Venezuela

Dave Royse

The Trump administration is tightening restrictions on Cuba with new sanctions and a crackdown on tourism to the island disguised as family visits or other official business.

What Happened

President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton announced the move during a speech Wednesday in Miami, according to PBS. Bolton said the U.S. also will tighten policies toward Venezuela and Nicaragua, dubbing the three countries a “troika of tyranny.”

Why It's Important

The new rules, which rescind the Obama administration’s efforts to open up commerce and relations with Cuba, may mean the end of U.S. cruise ships calling on Cuban ports. Americans technically aren’t allowed to visit as tourists, but if they fill out an affidavit saying they have certain kinds of business there — including “support for the Cuban people” — they’re allowed to go.

Several cruise lines that call at Cuban ports could be affected, including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE: RCL), Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NYSE: NCLH). It's unclear whether those ships will still be able to dock in Cuba under the new rules. 

What's Next

The new rules also will make it harder for Cuban-Americans to send money to their families still on the island, putting a $4,000 annual limit on the practice. Cubans received about $3 billion in this manner in 2016, according to State Department figures, PBS said. 

Bolton also said the U.S. will sanction the Central Bank of Venezuela, which Trump claims backs Nicolas Maduro, who is holding on to the presidency despite international support for Maduro opponent Juan Guaido.

Shares of Royal Caribbean were down 0.68 percent at $123.25 at last check Wednesday. Shares of Carnival were off 0.31 percent at $54.63 and Norwegian Cruise shares were falling 3.04 percent to $57.75. 

Related Links:

Cuba's Economy Is Doing Better, But Still Has A Long Way To Go

Trump Restrictions On Business With Cubans: Possible Blow To President's Future Hotel Competitors?

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