US Department of State to Roll Back Trump-Era Restrictions on Cuba Travel

The policy changes have been over a year in the making

Skyline of Old Havana Cuba
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Dreaming of a trip to Cuba? You're in luck. On Monday, the U.S. Department of State announced that it would begin rolling back several restrictions placed on the country during the Trump administration.

Among the changes being made to Cuba-related foreign policy, the State Department said that it would approve scheduled and charter flights to destinations in Cuba beyond Havana, as well as reinstate people-to-people, educational, and business-related travel to "strengthen family ties and facilitate educational connections for the U.S. and Cuban people." According to the statement issued by the State Department, only group travel will be authorized for the time being.

In addition to these policies, the State Department will also reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program and "remove the current limit on family remittances of $1,000 per quarter."

"We will make it easier for families to visit their relatives in Cuba and for authorized U.S. travelers to engage with the Cuban people, attend meetings, and conduct research," said Ned Price, a U.S. Department of State spokesperson in a statement.

The policy changes have been over a year in the making. Last spring, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration is "committed to carefully reviewing policy decisions made in the prior administration, including the decision to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism."

Former President Donald Trump revoked the Obama administration's historic détente with Cuba during his four-year term. These restrictions included suspending commercial flights to all Cuban cities except Havana, prohibiting people-to-people educational travel, and eliminating trips to Cuba via cruise ship and private aircraft.

"[The] US gov. announcement is a limited step in the right direction," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez wrote in a tweet. "This decision in no way modifies the blockade, #Cuba's fraudulent inclusion [on] the list of [state sponsors of terrorism], or most of Trump's maximum pressure coercive measures that still affect the Cuban people."

The U.S. Department of State has not yet announced when these changes will go into effect.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of State. "Biden Administration Measures to Support the Cuban People." May 16, 2022.

  2. U.S. Department of State. "Biden Administration Measures to Support the Cuban People." May 16, 2022.

  3. Reuters. "Biden Reviewing Trump's Listing of Cuba As Terrorism Sponsor." March 9, 2021.

  4. Congressional Research Service. "Cuba: U.S. Policy Overview." May 13, 2022.