Havana, June 6 (Sputnik) .- The US company Marriott will close its operations in Cuba as of August 31, the only US company in that country licensed to operate hotels in the last 60 years, due to a notification from the Treasury Department, media and organizations reported.
“The US Treasury Department has notified Marriott International that we must close our operation of the Four Points Sheraton in Havana, Cuba before August 31, and that we will not be allowed to open other hotels in Cuba that were in preparation,” says a statement from the company released by the cubatrade.org website of the US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc.
The decision adopted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is in tune with previous measures taken last year that included a ban on the entry to Cuba of cruise ships, pleasure yachts and private planes, aimed at torpedoing the tourism industry, the main economic activity and rescue platform in the midst of the crisis that the island is experiencing as a direct consequence of US sanctions.
The announcement of the measure against Marriot comes just 48 hours after the US State Department included seven companies in a list of more than 200 sanctioned Cuban institutions, including a financial firm in charge of handling remittances in foreign exchange. to Cuba, mainly from the northern nation.
Among the Cuban entities sanctioned two days ago by the US, three hotels, two international diving centers, and a dolphinarium are also included, all linked to the tourism industry.
Marriot entered the Cuban market in 2016 with an operations permit issued by the US government, at a time when the crisis was thawing between the two countries, and after the former US presidents, Barack Obama (2009-2017) , and from Cuba, Raúl Castro (2008-2018), had announced the resuming of diplomatic relations.
This operational license was reviewed and renewed in 2018 by the administration of President Donald Trump, according to a statement issued by the US hotel company.
“We recently received a notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba. Marriott continues to believe that Cuba is a destination that travelers, including Americans, want to visit. Marriott expects reopen in Cuba as soon as the United States government gives us permission to do business there again,” the statement added.
Marriot currently manages two hotels in Havana, one of them is the 186-room Four Points by Sheraton Havana in the west of the city, through Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide LLC; and the 83-room Hotel Inglaterra, a historic building located in Havana’s colonial zone.
Featured image: © CC BY 2.0 / VisitPlano / Dallas / Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center