Senators Reintroduce Bill to Fully Lift Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Photo by Joe Pike

Travel to Cuba may have felt legal for the last two years or so, but not until Thursday did a majority of senators support a bill to fully lift all restrictions on travel from the U.S. to the once forbidden destination. 

According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., reintroduced a bill that would terminate the remaining travel restrictions for Americans and legal residents who wish to visit Cuba.

But although the bill received 55 of the 100 votes, representing a majority, it still fell short of the 60 votes required to advance the legislation. According to Reuters, there was no indication the chamber’s Republican leaders would allow the measure to come up for a vote.

FREE Virtual Event

Pivoting Back to Travel: Phase 4

Are you prepared to guide your clients through the “new normal” of travel? Join us December 15, 2020 from 1pm-2:20pm EST for Pivoting Back to Travel: Phase 4. The upcoming installment of our FREE virtual series will feature presentations from the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Seabourn on their most up-to-date travel procedures, health & safety protocols they’ve implemented to keep guests safe, activities that are open to visitors, what your clients need to know while on their trip and more! Visit www.pivotingbacktotravel to view the full agenda and register for your FREE pass.

An earlier version of the bill introduced in 2015 similarly had a bipartisan mix of co-sponsors, but ultimately never made it to the Senate floor, according to The Hill. 

The Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by 52 other senators, a significant jump from the eight backers for the original 2015 bill.

"Recognizing the inherent right of Americans to travel to Cuba isn't a concession to dictators, it is an expression of freedom,” Flake said in a written statement. “It is Americans who are penalized by our travel ban, not the Cuban government.”

In December of 2014, it was announced that the United States would restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than 50 years.

In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, then U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.

However, President Donald Trump has threatened to reverse the normalization of ties with Cuba. 

Keep visiting for all your latest Cuba travel news and be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

Related Links

Holland America Becomes Latest Cruise Line to Sail for Cuba

Abercrombie & Kent Releases 2018 Cuba Cruise Dates, New Land Options

Declining Interest in Cuba Hasn't Stopped Cruise Ships From Sailing

Azamara Club Cruises Adds Four New Cuba Cruises

Suggested Articles:

Thailand announced a new tourist visa for U.S. travelers to apply in advance to visit safely for up to 60 days. Here's what you need to know.

Accor is taking full ownership of sbe’s hotel asset light business and entered an all-share merger with Ennismore. Here's what it means.

After cruising successfully in Europe the past few months, MSC Cruises is the first major line to receive approval for cruises from Japan. Read more.