Cuba Sanctions Are Changing – But Don’t Break Out the Cigars Yet: Despite Opening, Tourist Travel is Still Prohibited

Since President Obama has returned from his historic trip to Cuba, can American tourists now also travel to Cuba to enjoy mojitos and cigars on the beach?

While such idyllic tourist travel is still prohibited, the U.S. and Cuba are closer than they have been in decades. President Obama’s trip was designed to “extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people” and end the remnants of the Cold War, but significant differences remain between the U.S. and Cuba regarding security, opportunity and human rights. Until those differences are resolved and the U.S. embargo is lifted, some form of sanctions will remain in effect.

President Obama’s visit to Cuba is his latest effort to further a policy designed to engage and empower the Cuban people. That policy already has resulted in a number of amendments to the sanctions found in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Although the amendments are significant, the remaining sanctions under the CACR and the EAR are very broad, including the prohibition on tourist travel.

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