President Trump’s announcement yesterday has everyone in a stir. Let me put your mind at ease, and just to be perfectly clear…YES you can travel to Cuba, legally. At Freedom Travel we have sent our travelers legally after Obama’s eased relationships with Cuba, and we will continue to send them legally after Trump’s latest policy announcement.
What does this new policy actually say?
- The policy enhances travel restrictions to better enforce the statutory ban on United States tourism to Cuba. Among other changes, travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited. Cuban-Americans will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances.
How will this change how we travel to Cuba?. The key phrase is “travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel” Here at Freedom Travel everyone falls into the “group travel” category–it may be a small group, or a larger group, but we always adher to the rules and regulations. What they want to restrict is individuals who do not have a travel itinerary and may be there for other reasons besides innocent cultural discovery. The intent is to have tourists supporting the locals — which we happily do.
- Sen. Marco Rubio, who claims credit for writing the Trump policy along with a fellow Cuban-American and Florida Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, tweeted Friday that individual
American travelers will still be able to go to Cuba for the purpose of supporting the Cuban people, a category that includes helping human rights organizations and non-governmental groups meant to strengthen democracy and civil society.
Below is the Cuba Travel Affidavit Form. Travelers must fall into one of the following 12 categories. There are two specific to general travelers and we at Freedom Travel have used them both: People-to-People and Support the Cuban People that Rubio refers to above.
Family visit [515.561(a)]
Official business of U.S. or foreign government, or intergovernmental organization [515.562]
Journalistic activities [515.563]
Professional research or meetings [515.564(1), 515.564(2)]
Educational activities –for credit in connection with degree [515.565(a)]
Educational exchanges – people to people [515.565(b)]
Religious activities in Cuba [515.566]
Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions [515.567(a), 515.567(b)]
Support for the Cuban people [515.574]
Humanitarian projects [515.575]
Activities of private foundations or research/ educational institutes [515.576]
Activities related to the exportation or importation of informational materials [515.545]
Exportation and re-exportation of certain internet-based services [515.578]
Certain export transactions [515.533]
Activities in connection with the temporary sojourn of aircraft/ vessels [515.545(b)(2)]
Activities related to professional media and artistic productions [515.533(d)(2)]
Returning Cuban nationals [515.570]
Activities related to Department of Commerce licensed or authorized exports, medicines, and medical supplies
What does “support the Cuban people”, mean? In the General license there are three activities that describe what “support the Cuban people.” This is the one that relates best to my travelers.
(iii) Individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba; and goes on to say that the traveler’s schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. Each of our travelers has an detailed itinerary with tours and activities, and some (not excess) free time.
Cuba is one of my favorite countries in the world, rich in culture. The people are welcoming us with huge smiles and so many times I have heard “thank you for coming”. I have traveled around the world and never has anyone ever said “thank you for coming.” I say, No…Thank You Cuba–Thank You for Sharing!Contact Us For More Information