IFCO/Pastors for Peace vehemently rejects the Trump Administration's on-going attempts to restrict US citizens from traveling to Cuba.
Just six weeks ago the administration issued a travel warning saying the so-called "sonic attacks", that mysteriously only impacted the health of US diplomats working on the island, were a cause of concern for US travelers.
In addition to the travel warning, Trump ordered the expulsion of 15 diplomats from the Cuban embassy in Washington, DC and stopped issuing visas to Cubans who wanted to visit the United States.
Now, despite the lack of any evidence that Cuba is behind the unexplained health issues, the US government has increased its restrictions on US travelers destined for Cuba.
Among some of the most egregious aspects of these
- Restricting individuals from visiting Cuba under the people-to-people category and prohibiting US travelers from staying in Cuban hotels
- Imposing new conditions for educational travelers requiring sponsorship by an authorized US organization
- Telling those traveling under the category of "Support for the Cuban People" that they must promote 'independence' from the Cuban government
- Denying licenses for the export and re-export of products to Cuban organizations as identified by the US State Department.
BEHIND TRUMP'S CUBA POLICY
After travel to Cuba was eased under the Obama Administration in 2014 following efforts by US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro to work toward some form of normalized relations, millions of US citizens have traveled to Cuba.
Just last year according to the Cuban Ministry of Tourism more than 4 million people traveled to Cuba (13% more than the previous year). Half of those visitors were from the US (up 34% from the year before). This is a clear indication that the US government cannot put the genie back in the bottle.
Instead, recognizing that people are going to go the Cuba anyway, the Trump Administration is jumping in front of this run-away train and doing all it can to prevent Cuban authorities, and in turn Cuban citizens, from benefiting from this surge of US visitors to the island.
As Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, "these measures confirm the serious regress of bilateral relations as a result of the decisions adopted by the US government and strengthen the US blockade and travel restrictions for US citizens."
Coming just one week after the international community voted nearly unanimously to condemn the vicious blockade of Cuba at the annual UN vote, these repressive and regressive steps by the Trump Administration are yet another indication of just how isolated the United States is in its barbaric policy toward Cuba.
It is past time for the citizens of the United States to stand up and shout "NO!" We will not allow the US government to restrict our right to travel to Cuba. As friends of Cuba, many of us who have seen the island and its beautiful people first hand, shame on us if we allow the bullying tactics of the current administration to go unchallenged.
Nearly three years ago, President Obama made history when he referred to the US government's policy toward Cuba as "archaic and a failure". That statement is still true today.
Now is the time! We MUST fight back!!
- Contact your members of Congress and urge them to lift the US blockade of Cuba & travel restrictions.
- House of Representatives: HR 351 - The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
- Senate: Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017, HR 351 and Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017, S. 1287
Travel to Cuba with IFCO/Pastors for Peace in February
On Nov. 17th tweet @realDonaldTrump to end the US blockade!
Use the following hashtags:
#cubasibloqueono #endtheblockade #cuba #UScuba