HAVANA, Jan 6th (EFE) Josefina Vidal, general director for the USA of the Cuban Chancellery, announced that in 2017 more than 1.17 Americans arrived in Cuba, which is almost triple (a growth of 191%), in relation to the previous year.
Of these travelers, 453,905 are Cuban residents in the US, which represents a 137.8% increase (more than double), specified in his Twitter account the official, one of the most visible faces of the “thaw” between both countries.
Last year, 619,523 visitors from the northern country also arrived on the island, for a rise of 217% (more than triple), reported Vidal.
This increase, with respect to the more than 94,000 American travelers who arrived in Cuba in 2016, occurs despite the restrictions imposed by the US embargo. to its inhabitants, who can not travel freely to the nearby country.
Cuba and the United States reestablished relations in July 2015, after which the two former enemies entered a new stage of normalization within which commercial flights, cruises and resumption of travel were approved.
This bilateral approach favored a “boom” in the visits to the former “forbidden island”, which in 2017 registered a historical record of 4.7 million foreign tourists.
Despite this, the Cuban authorities insist on the damage caused by the embargo or “blockade”, whose prohibition on traveling to the Americans costs Cuba about 1.5 billion dollars a year.
At the moment both countries live a climate of renewed tension in their relations, due to the sudden change in the policy of the North American country promoted by the Administration of president Donald Trump.
Trump ordered the withdrawal of almost all the diplomats from the US Embassy in Havana in September due to the danger posed by the alleged sonic attacks directed at US personnel.
For that reason, the US It issued an alert to its citizens not to travel to Cuba and last November approved new restrictions on individual trips to the island.
Yesterday, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez received Republican Senator Jeff Flake in the Cuban capital, one of the main promoters before Congress of a bill that proposes the elimination of restrictions on travel by Americans to Cuba.