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What will new Cuba travel restrictions mean for Vermonters? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

What will new Cuba travel restrictions mean for Vermonters?

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Foreign policy is hitting close to home for some Vermonters.

It’s Jake Agna's mission to bring Americans and Cubans together to play tennis. He says President Donald Trump’s tighter travel and trade restrictions won't stop him from sharing the sport he loves. The South Burlington resident has brought more than 100 Americans to Cuba to play tennis.

"Every time I go down there I get inspired by people," Agna said.

Agna raised $750,000 to open 10 courts at Cuba's National Tennis Center.

"I want to get our kids here down to Cuba. I want to get the Cuban kids here. Right now, the embargo makes that hard," Agna said, referring to Trump's policy announced Friday.

It also prohibits individual travel outside of tour groups and bans transactions with businesses controlled by the Cuban military.

"I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba," President Trump said. "We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interest of both their people and our people, and also of Cuban-Americans."

The president says the purpose is to hold the Cuban government accountable for oppression and to further America’s national security interests.

Back during the Obama administration, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was a supporter of easing restrictions against Cuba. He issued a statement about the new policy, saying in part: "This is a hollow retreat from normalization that takes a swipe at Americans' freedom to travel, at our national interest, and at the people of Cuba who yearn to reconnect with us."

As for Agna, he still believes he will be able to bring tennis players to the island because his trips happen in groups. After his own 13 visits to Cuba, he considers it sad that others might not get to experience what he did.

"Anything that's not moving us along toward getting us along is not a good policy," Agna said. "I just think we've all got to try to sort it out and try to figure out how to go forward."

Trump's administration says the changes won't take effect until the Treasury and Commerce departments finalize the regulations, which might be a few months.

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