With the dawn of a new administration in the United States, the time to lift the travel ban to Cuba has come. The nearly 50 year trade embargo’s time has past and the United States Government needs to ease the restrictions on Americans who wish or do travel to the island nation only 90 miles from Florida. The passing of the failed Bush Administration and the impending closing of the utterly ridiculous Guantanamo Bay prison camp is a start but we need more. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, both illegally and legally travel to the island every year. They risk civil penalties and fines upon return to the United States if they sneak into the country illegally and if they seek permission from the US Government then they risk being told no. This to me is ridiculous. It is ridiculous that you may face fines if we, as American citizens-the freedom capital of the world travel to a place that’s 90 miles from the United States. It is unfair, un-American and the threat from Cuba is not what it used to be. The Bay of Pigs was nearly 50 years ago and the Soviet Union is no longer together. The time has come for President Obama to allow Americans to travel freely to this island that time forgot.
I am not a Cuban American but if I was, I would only be able to travel to Cuba once every three years to visit family that may be residing on the island. American airlines offers flights from Miami to Havana for $600, which is out of the price range of many Cuban-Americans that wish to travel there and it’s a little expensive for a 45 minute flight. You constantly hear stories about how people of Cuban descent have children whom have never met their grandparents who still live on the island. This is ridiculous to me.
As the story goes, if you want to enter Cuba without dealing with bureaucracy of the US Government, you generally enter through Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Caymans or Venezuela. This is not the most attractive option and at the same time you will be worried that you may be fined upon your return to the States. Again, it’s hard for me to fathom the my government does not allow for us to travel freely.
The argument that we would be supporting a Totalitarian Regime seems ridiculous at this point. Cuba is a very poor place and Fidel Castro is no longer President. His brother who is also in his late 70’s is more open to talks with the US and should be approached by our government. The notion of supporting a regime like Cuba seems a bit trite as well considering all the other regimes that we have funded and supported throughout the years such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq and certainly Bin Laden in Afghanistan-look where that has got us.
I hate red tape and I hate restrictions on my freedom. The time has come to lift the travel ban for American citizens to Cuba. If change has come to America then I hope it comes to our full freedoms as well. We are capable of making our own decisions about where we travel and if nothing else, Cuban Americans should be able to travel to see their families when they want to without being hassled or shaken down by the airlines.