U.S. citizens still face restrictions on travel to Cuba

According to a July 12, 2009 article published in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at that time president of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee noted that despite being able to travel to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Vietnam, China and North Korea, the only place in the world where U.S. citizens are prohibited from visiting without an authorized license was – and still is – Cuba. The U.S. official made these statements while expressing support for the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which as he noted then, and again more recently in 2015, would not mean an end to the blockade.

President Eisenhower took away U.S. citizens’ right to travel to Cuba 55 years ago, on January 17, 1961. Despite recent initiatives, such as the authorization of charter flights between the two nations and the fact that citizens no longer must wait to receive a government approved license for one of the 12 legal travel categories, but can travel immediately on a general license, U.S. travel policy to Cuba has remained virtually unchanged for more than half a century.

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