Cuba to begin legislative session on transition a day early - state media

Cuban President Raul Castro during his visit to Vietnam earlier this

"The State Council of the Republic of Cuba, making use of its conferred faculties, agreed to begin the Constituent Session of the 9th Legislature of the People's Power National Assembly Wednesday April 18, 2018, at 9 a.m.in the Convention's Palace in Havana".

A deepening economic crisis in Cuba's ally Venezuela has squeezed its finances at a time when US President Donald Trump has stepped up economic pressure on the island, tightening business and travel restrictions following a thaw under Barack Obama.

"People-to-people" tour companies needed special licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department and were regularly audited and faced steep fines or loss of licenses for allowing travelers to engage in tourism. By discussions and activities, they were often presented as a outcome favoring Cuba government places on national and worldwide issues. As a result, U.S.travel to Cuba roughly tripled by the time Obama left office. Travelers have been legally necessary to keep logs in their "people-to-people" programs, but the Obama government explained it would not enforce the demand.

Trump re-imposed the requirement that "people-to-people" travelers could only come to Cuba with heavily regulated tour groups. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM. In real terms, this kind of travel is essentially undistinguishable from people-to-people trips, together with us citizens visiting organic plants the exact organizations and places they failed beneath Obama.

Despite the image of Raul Castro as an all-powerful military strongman, many Cubans say back-and-forth moves and the overall slow pace of reform have shown the difficulty of modernizing a Soviet-era bureaucracy controlled by hundreds of thousands of civil servants who would be threatened by a transition into a market economy - a difficulty Castro's successor will also face. Still, the number of American travelers without family ties topped 600,000, more than six times the pre-Obama level. But amid the thrive owners of bed-and-breakfasts and also restaurants reported a sharp dropoff.

In large part that's because much of the American travel since Trump's regulation has been in cruise ship passengers, a form of travel that the new administration did not restrict.

Which means that far, Trump's rules have been steering money into the control of their authorities and apart from the opposite in their intended impact, personal businesses.

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