Travel to Cuba is getting easier by the day, but Americans still aren't totally free to vacation there. Tourists are going to have to wait a little bit longer to enjoy some Havana nights.
On Tuesday, the U.S. government will announce a new agreement with Cuba that will restore commercial flights between the two countries. Politico, which broke the news today, reports that the deal will allow for as many as 110 scheduled flights every day. That will make it easier than ever for authorized travelers to make it to Havana, and vice versa.
Authorized travelers—there’s the catch. Restrictions regarding who can travel to Cuba, and for what purposes, are still in place. According to the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Americans can head to Cuba for the following reasons:
- Family visits
- Official business for the U.S. government, foreign governments, and some intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances
- Athletic and other competitions or exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Export/import or transmission of information or information materials
- Certain authorized export transactions
I know, I know: Bey and Jay make Cuba look so effortless! But they had their paperwork in order. In response to criticism from frumpy Republicans, the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General released a report vindicating the First Couple’s visit on the grounds that they were there under the “people-to-people” educational program.
Until the U.S. government fully drops the embargo against Cuba (or waters down its provisions to meaninglessness), it will still be tough for Americans to live their best lives. Fortunately, the Obama administration appears intent on doing away with the embargo as quickly as possible.