Airbnb backs Cuba engagement as Trump reviews relations

Airbnb backs Cuba engagement as Trump reviews relations
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Airbnb on Thursday voiced its support for some portions of the U.S. government’s efforts to increase enterprise and engagement with Cuba as President Trump is reportedly mulling a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision to bolster the relationship.

“We support your efforts in maintaining the opening that has been made with Cuba and your efforts in opposing further restrictions,” the company wrote in a letter addressed to Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and other Cuba working group members along with White House administration officials including national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

“Thank you for your leadership in supporting greater American engagement and opportunity in the country of Cuba,” the homesharing company continued.

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Trump had put President Obama’s Cuba policy under review after taking office. Despite the previous president’s efforts in softening some trade regulations, Congress has yet to end the 57-year embargo between the two countries.

“If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump tweeted at the end of November.

Airbnb has benefited from the U.S.’s improved relations with Cuba.

Early in the week, Airbnb touted its presence in Cuba in a report on the service’s growth there since it entered the market in 2015. Twelve percent of Americans who travel to Cuba stay in Airbnb listings, which have netted Cubans almost $40 million. The company makes roughly 3 percent off each reservation in addition to a 6 to 12 percent guest services fee when a reservation is completed. 

“In a country where average workers earn $30 per month, the additional income generated via Airbnb is an economic lifeline for individual Cuban people and their families,” Airbnb wrote in their letter.