'CUBANS steeled to resist latest US sanctions' :

The United States may have announced a raft of measures that could hamper investment in Cuba in a bid to ramp-up pressure on the communist government, but in Havana life is trundling along with usual serenity.

The peace is only broken by the mention of  US President Donald Trump's name.

''It's a constant threat, I think Trump is a complicated person who likes to hold the people in the iron grip. That's his way,'' said Mercedes Martinez, an 85-year old teacher.

Washington on Wednesday announced new restrictions on US travel and remittances to the  Caribbean island nation, and give the green light to lawsuits in US courts against companies operating in properties seized since the late Fidel Castro's communist revolution in 1959.

That brought a stern rebuke from Havana and criticism from the EU  -Cuba's largest foreign investor.

''These were legally nationalised,'' said Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in reference to the seized properties.

Trump's National Security Advisor Hohn Bolton said on Wednesday that the US would bar Americans from traveling to Cuba except to visit family. reversing the loosening restrictions under Barrack Obama that had started to open the cash strapped island to US tourism.

Remittances sent to Cuba will be limited to just $1,000 per quarter per individual.

''These new measures will help steer American dollars away from the Cuban regime,'' said Bolton.
Many Cubans rely on such international transfers to supplement their earnings.

Threat To Tourism : Cuba is in a desperate need of  capital to boost a stuttering economy. It attracted only $2 billion in investments in 2017, well short of the $5 billion needed to spark growth.

Cuban's primary concern is a shortage of food, exacerbated in no small part by US sanctions first applied in 1962.

The latest US measures won't help and could the tourism industry hard.

The Habana Libre Hotel in the central Vedado neighborhood of the capital is a case in point.

Formerly the Havana Hilton, it was nationalized during the revolution and could be subject to a claim in US courts. [Agencies]


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