News

Cuba Flight Ban Lifted, but Only in Some Circumstances

By Sophie Condron

January, 20, 2015

United States citizens have been banned from traveling to Cuba for quite a while. In the past month, the United States has started to ease their restrictions on travel to Cuba.

In 1960, the United States put an embargo on Cuba. The United States restricted their exports to Cuba, with the exception of food and medicine. The main people suffering from this embargo were the Cuban citizens.

In the past month, the United States has eased travel and export restrictions. Now United States citizens can travel to Cuba, but only if they apply to one of the categories, as found on the Huffington Post:

  • Family visits
  • Official government business
  • Journalism
  • Professional research and meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and athletic competitions
  • “Support for the Cuban people”
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research for educational institutes
  • Exporting or importing information or “information materials”
  • Travel related to some authorized export transactions

Many people can find a way to go visit Cuba, and would apply to one of these categories.

When traveling to Cuba, United States citizens are now able to purchase and bring home $100 worth of tobacco and alcohol products. United States citizens have not been allowed to purchase anything in Cuba since the embargo was set in 1960.

The flight ban on Cuba was originally set because the United States wanted to force the end of Fidel Castro’s rule. The United States tried to pressure on Cuba to reform. Cuba is communist, and the United States wanted to limit their contact with a communist nation.

In order to ease the flight ban, the United States made a “trade.” In exchange for the ease of the restrictions, Cuba released 53 political prisoners that had been incarcerated for “speaking out.”

Around the same time that the U.S. eased the flight restrictions, several University of Virginia Darden Business School students spent a week in Cuba learning about the nation’s transitioning economy. They spoke with business owners and visited a cousin of one of the students. The UVa students saw that many people in Cuba earn very little, but live happy lives.

Many United States citizens want to visit this beautiful nation in the Caribbean, and many will get their chance now that the United States has eased the flight ban.

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