New regulations by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regarding legal travel to Cuba were released in July that contain a number of new guidelines and directives for organizations that are licensed to provide travel to Cuba, including Global Exchange.
While these new regulations are leaving people confused and unclear about what this means for future educational travel to Cuba, Global Exchange along with many other organizations are thoroughly reviewing the regulations so as to be in compliance.
So why are OFAC’s new guidelines problematic? As Anya Landau French, Director of the New America Foundation’s U.S. – Cuba Policy Initiative and the editor of The Havana Note explains:
Restricting contacts in the first place is a bad idea, but this sort of ‘Big Brother is watching’ approach to people to people engagement is counterproductive (and more than a little ironic). Providing a full itinerary, explaining how contacts with the government helps to make people more independent of the government, and so on, is an odd way to try to open up what many consider a closed society. And therein lies the problem: the objective of such travel is to open up Cuba, instead of to foster mutual understanding, a principle that should stand on its own. In this way, the Obama administration has backed itself into a policy corner.
Ellen Creager of the Detroit Free Press also offers us a critical look at the challenges that may lie ahead despite the few positive changes that have come in the last year.
While here at Global Exchange we continue to review these new regulations, the Cuba section of our Reality Tours website will be “under construction.” Please feel welcome to contact us should you have questions, since we do retain our license as an authorized Travel Service Provider to Cuba.
- Direct OFAC and the State Department to carry out President Obama’s Cuba policy – Sign this petition!
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