Monday, January 24, 2011

Presidential Action on Travel to Cuba

Following the Chicago Bar Association’s trip to Cuba last fall, several of us who traveled on the trip contacted the White House to urge the President to take action to loosen restrictions on travel by Americans to Cuba. Currently, there is a statutory ban on travel in place, and, since George W. Bush’s first term in office, travel by non-Cuban Americans has been permitted under only very limited circumstances.

On the afternoon of Friday, January 14, I was invited to participate in a conference call in which the White House announced the issuance of new Orders expanding Americans’ ability to travel to Cuba for study and for religious purposes, expanding the number of domestic airports from which airlines may operate direct flights to Cuba and expanding Americans’ ability to send remittances to Cuba to support non-family members. These changes essentially restore where were known as “people to people” policies previously in place during the Clinton administrations in the 1990s, and will make it possible for Americans to engage in broader humanitarian and educational travel to Cuba.

It was an honor for the Chicago Bar Association to be invited to participate in this important announcement. You can find a summary of the new policies at the following link: