For nearly 50 years, the United States has enforced an economic embargo against the country of Cuba aimed at forcing a regime change within the island nation and, ostensibly, cutting off the flow of funds to the existing Cuban government. This embargo, which includes a general prohibition against Americans traveling to the country, has failed to achieve its stated goals. Instead, the U.S.’s continued pursuit of this anachronistic and irrational policy toward Cuba has alienated it from other countries as well as regional organizations, including the United Nations, which has condemned the embargo for 18 consecutive years.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has consistently criticized the prohibition of travel to Cuba as an irrational policy that violates international law, infringes unjustifiably on the rights of Americans, and injures both Cubans and Americans alike. Since 1997, CCR has worked to rescind the travel restrictions enforced as part of the embargo and has represented over 425 individuals accused of violating the travel ban. These individuals were subjected to unconstitutional, Kafkaesque investigations and prosecutions that resulted in hefty fines, particularly following the tightening of travel restrictions under Bush administration regulations passed in 2004.
Today, most countries have diplomatic relations with Cuba, and only the United States prohibits its nationals from traveling to the island nation. U.S. nationals are not prohibited from visiting any other country, including those that are subject to other U.S. sanctions regimes (for example, North Korea, Iran or Sudan). The Cuba travel ban is a relic of unsuccessful Cold War policy kept alive by electoral considerations and not rational foreign policy or national security concerns.
Obama Administration Changes to “Family Travel” Restrictions
We recommend you take a look at the most recent federal regulations regarding Cuba travel. Click here to view an up-to-date version of the regulations.
Know Before You Go
CCR publishes this free guide for travelers. Updated in September 2009, Know Before You Go: Restrictions on Travel to Cuba provides infromation on federal regulations regarding travel to Cuba. Learn more and download the guide here.
If you are in need of an attorney regarding Cuba travel-related issues, please call or email us at: (212) 614-6470 and ihead at ccrjustice dot org.