Trump bans official cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States

Havana - The White House prohibited the federal government from financing educational and cultural exchange activities with Cuban officials and state entities, allegedly to prevent human trafficking between the two countries, according to a memorandum sent to the State Department.

The presidential measure also includes Syria, Russia, and North Korea.

"The United States will not provide non-humanitarian, or trade-related assistance or allow officials or employees of the governments of Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria and Russia to participate in educational and cultural exchange programs for the fiscal year 2020," said the document signed by President Donald Trump says.

The presidential directive makes funds for educational and cultural exchanges conditional on these countries, "complying with the minimum standards of the Human Trafficking Elimination Act or making significant efforts to comply with its minimum requirements."

The White House memorandum, however, does not prevent state and local governments from continuing to hire Cuban artists or fund various types of cultural and educational exchanges with the island. Nor does it affect private entrepreneurs who can continue to bring musicians residing in Cuba to the U.S. for concerts.

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