A couple of weeks ago I posted about Rahm Emanuel's scheduled trip to Cuba, and asked why he could go but I cannot. I still don't see how his trip can be justified, assuming the information here is correct:
So ... American tourism is or isn't legal in Cuba?I'm sure it won't be monitored very closely for the president's former right-hand man.
Though the U.S. and Cuba have re-established diplomatic relations, the two countries have far from worked everything out. General tourist travel to Cuba is still illegal under U.S. law.
Until Congress decides otherwise, U.S. citizens and permanent residents are prohibited from traveling to Cuba for the sole purpose of basking on a beach and drinking daiquiris.
If the U.S. Department of the Treasury were to discover that an American took part in such illicit activities, he or she could be subject to a hefty fine or even jail time.
How rigorously illegal tourism will be monitored remains to be seen.
As of January 2015, there are 12 broad categories of travel activities that have been granted this permanent pre-approved status (PDF):As a blogger for almost 11 years now I most certainly qualify as a journalist. Since my travel plans for next summer have been unraveling for over a week now, perhaps I should go report on the workers' paradise.
• Visiting family
• Humanitarian projects or to provide support to the Cuban people
• Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
• Journalistic activities
• Professional research
• Educational activities by persons at academic institutions
• People to people travel
• Religious activities
• Public performance, clinics, workshops, athletic or other competitions and exhibitions
• Authorization to provide travel services, carrier services and remittance forwarding services
• Activities of private foundations, research or educational institutes
• Exportation of certain Internet-based services
Traveling to Cuba is indeed easier for many than it's been in decades. It's just not the free-for-all it's been made out to be.