Is Expanded Travel To Cuba More Likely Today?

Since well before I was born , there’s been a travel embargo to Cuba for US citizens. Today, we may have moved closer to a change in that long-standing policy.

I saw a news alert come across about the release of an American prisoner who’s been held for 5 years.

First and foremost, it’s great that he’s being reunited with his family after such a long time.

President Obama is scheduled to address the country about Cuba shortly, and it makes me wonder if there’s a potential thaw in relations that may lead to free travel for US citizens to Cuba.

Shortly after the news story came out, my sister contacted me. She’s a bit of a nomad, always in search of a great place to sail or explore. She’s been to Cuba and loved it. But, I can recall helping her plan those flights. You have to travel to somewhere outside the US on a separate ticket and then board a different flight bound for Cuba. It may seem odd, but it’s not uncommon for US citizens to fly North to Canada to then fly South to Cuba.

The airlines would likely welcome open travel to Cuba as a means of increasing profits with a new desirable destination close to the US.

The current administration has shown a desire to end what is largely a US-only effort to punish Cuba, but the capture and imprisonment of Alan Gross complicated matters. With that issue hopefully in the rear view mirror, Cuba might be on the horizon.

Have you been to Cuba? Would you go if the travel ban was lifted?

13 Comments

  1. I can’t see any major changes in the Cuba embargo, given the current political environment. If Obama makes any changes there, Congress will go apes***. I don’t think he can afford to wave any more red flags in front of the bull than he already is.

      1. I don’t think the administration’s determination will have anything to do with it. The House is controlled by the Republicans, and the Senate will be in a few weeks. There is no way they’ll let this happen. The political fight over this would be BRUTAL. The Cuban exile community in Miami can make noise out of all proportion to their size, and when you combine that with the venomous relationship between the President and the Republicans in Congress, I just don’t see anything happening.

        Anything the President does on his own will be followed by Congress barring funding to carry out any of it’s provisions. The ONLY chance I see for this to happen would be for the President to say to Congress, “I’ll give you immigration if you give me this.” And I don’t think he’ll do that because the immigration issue is too important to a segment of his political base.

        1. Brian, I agree I don’t see the President sacrificing immigration for this. I’m just wondering if you get past the uproar over the prisoner exchange if it becomes less of a lightning rod issue. It’ll definitely be interesting to watch. I need to get some popcorn.

          1. “I’m just wondering if you get past the uproar over the prisoner exchange if it becomes less of a lightning rod issue. ”

            I don’t think it does, considering the venomous political atmosphere, and the emotion this arouses among an extremely vocal segment of the population.

          2. Political atmosphere is definitely more toxic than I can ever recall. There’s probably some special interest money floating around for businesses that want to profit off of trade with Cuba, but likely not enough to stem a tide of disagreement.

  2. Canada no longer works for those planning on a Cuba via another country trip. Since the flight flies through US airspace all passenger information is shared with US authorities. That can come and bite you later. Go through the Bahamas or Mexico. If you want to explore more you can cruise out of Montego Bay for a 7 night Cuba trip. Perfect for Americans.

    1. Patrick, I didn’t know that about Canada flights. Have you heard of US citizens getting sanctioned for that? I believe my sister went through Grand Cayman.

      1. I did not hear of a case but remember reading something that Canadian package tours (Air, Hotel, Transfers) were denying US Citizens bookings due to the restrictions of flying over US airspace and their fear of fines as a company. Whether that had trickled down to individuals or not I cannot say for sure. I just hope the government has better things to do than look at flight lists to Cuba

        1. Patrick, they absolutely do have better things to do than look at flight lists, which in no way precludes them from doing exactly that. 🙂

          1. Of course, the government DOES have enough people working for it that having a few people check out the flight lists isn’t going to have much effect, if any. And it could probably be done mostly by computer, anyway.

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