US citizens will once again be free to travel to Cuba after Biden administration lifts restrictions

The Biden administration has announced that it lift restrictions that currently prevent U.S. citizens from making most leisure trips to Cubasimilar to what took effect under the Obama administration, but was later reversed by the State Department under President Trump.

So far, no specific date has been released when Americans will once again be able to travel freely to Cuba and it is one of several steps the Biden White House has taken to re-engage with the island nation.

The embargo against Cuba by the United States dates back to 1958, but more than restrictions on common trade and an arms embargo, ordinary American citizens are the most affected by the ban on free travel to Cuba as tourists, although this is possible under strict parameters when the trip is declared to have a humanitarian purpose.

This policy has been in place for a long time and in many administrations from all political walks of life until 2015 President Obama tried a new approach and relaxed these restrictions for the first time:

United States-Cuba relations: what changes for American travelers?

Then it was reversed soon after under the Trump administration in 2017:

Are Americans again facing tougher travel restrictions to Cuba?

This meant it was back to square one for Americans who wanted to visit Cuba which is a beautiful place to visit and has been a favorite among Canadian travelers for example.

As Reuters reportsPresident Biden will once again try a new approach with Cuba:

The United States on Monday announced a series of measures aimed at overhauling its policy towards Cuba, including easing some Trump-era restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island and sharply increasing visa processing. Americans for Cubans.

The measures, which were rolled out after lengthy review by the US government, mark the most significant shifts in the US approach to Havana since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. …

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that the measures announced Monday were intended to “further support the Cuban people, providing them with additional tools to lead a life free from oppression of the Cuban government and to seek greater economic opportunities”.

Biden officials have been aware that easing restrictions on the communist-ruled island could lead to political fallout from conservative Cuban Americans, a key voting bloc in South Florida that has primarily supported the government’s hardline policies. former President Donald Trump with regard to Cuba.

Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement, “Today’s announcement risks sending the wrong message to the wrong people, at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons. .”

Trump has reduced visa processing, restricted remittances, cut flights and increased barriers for US citizens seeking to travel to Cuba for anything other than family visits.

There were few details on how the new policy would be implemented, but officials said the measures would be implemented over the next few weeks.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in a post on Twitter, called the US announcement a “limited step in the right direction.” …

We will have to watch this process and see how a timeline develops in the coming months as to when and how Americans can resume flights to Cuba in a way that would resemble any other joint trip to a neighboring country. Keep in mind how close Cuba is to Florida.

It is fascinating to see how polarized the Cuban issue is in the United States and that in 2022 it is still a political hot potato going after Democrats such as Senator Menendez and Republicans. I’m surprised Biden dropped that just before the US midterm elections, which won’t help his party’s position in November.

Conclusion

The Biden administration is once again trying a new approach with Cuba and has announced that some restrictions will be lifted in due course, including travel, remittances and immigration for family members.

It will not be immediate and it is a process that will take time. The last time this happened, airlines were quick to schedule additional scheduled flights to Havana and other cities. We might see the same again this time.

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