Why Are U.S. Citizens Banned From Traveling To Cuba?
Above Photo: From Resumen-english.org
In the alleged “land of the free,” US citizens will now be almost completely banned from traveling to Cuba —an island only 90 miles away from the coast of Florida and one of the safest places to live and visit in the world.
The foreign policy of the Trump Administration has been taken over by anti Cuba extremists and in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton who has now fulfilled an old ambition of opposing any improvement between Havana and Washington while restricting the stream of people between the two countries.
First, consular services in the United States Embassy to Havana were cancelled on the basis of alleged sonic attacks against their diplomats. After more than two years of investigations, there has not been one shred of evidence that justifies Washington assertions.
For all practical purposes the Embassy of the US in Havana is closed including counselor services for Cubans trying to obtain a permit to travel to U.S. soil. Besides the costly travel to a third country to apply for a visa the legal door is shut. This not only affects travel for educational, sports and cultural interests, but also families on each side of the Florida Straits.
In 2018 Over 630 thousand people from the US skipped the existing restrictions for tourist travels in 2018 and used one of the 12 categories approved to travel to Cuba, according to official data. Most of them arrived in Cuba through cruise ships approved under the Barack Obama Administration, amid a brief stage of warming relations. The most used category was the exemption of people-to-people educational travel but after the new restrictive measures were announced Tuesday by the Department of the Treasury this option has now been closed. Only people who have already reserved a ticket or bought the trip package to Cuba will be able to carry out their visit to the Caribbean country.
Even in the hardest moments of bilateral relations, the people-to-people contact was useful to build bridges and explains why an overwhelmingly number of people in the US to support an improvement in relations between the two countries and an end to the blockade.
And that is the main reason why the extreme right in Florida wants to eliminate the travel, for people to see for themselves that the lies about Cuba are not the reality. They say they want to prevent the money of U.S. nationals to end up in the hands of the Cuban Government, but the truth is that most of those who travel from the North stay in private homes and eat at restaurants managed privately.
The truth is different. They know that the lies are called into question through every visit and every exchange confirms that Cuba and the United States can only benefit from the contact of their people and cultures. And, above all, it confirms that a civilized coexistence between the two countries is possible.
They may block the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba but they will not eliminate their desire to meet the warmth of the Caribbean’s largest island, where they will always be welcomed and treated respectfully.
We can only wait for the moment when common sense returns and when these measures are revoked and the will of the population prevails over the desires of an intransigent minority.