EFE/14ymedio, 7 January 2018 — In 2017, more than 1.07 million travelers from the United States arrived in Cuba, which represents a 71% increase compared to the previous year. This data is deduced from the information provided by the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s General Director for the United States, Josefina Vidal, after correcting an error in official’s calculation; the official report made a mistake in simple addition and added 100,000 non-existent tourists.
Of these travelers, 453,905 are Cuban residents in the United States. The other visitors, 619,523, are other Americans, which represents an increase of 119% compared to the previous year (282,621) (not the 217% as stated by Josefina Vidal in her tweet).
This increase occurs despite the restrictions imposed by the United States embargo on its residents, who cannot travel freely to the Island.
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 resulted in a “boom” in the visits to the formerly “forbidden island,” which in 2017 registered a historical record of 4.7 million foreign tourists.
Currently both countries are experiencing a climate of renewed tension in their relations, due to the sudden turn in Washington’s policy promoted by the administration of President Donald Trump.
In September, Trump ordered the withdrawal of almost all the diplomats from the US Embassy in Havana due to the danger posed by the alleged sonic attacks directed at US personnel.
For that reason Washington 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 Rodriguez 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 to Cuba by Americans.
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