Lifting Restrictions on Travel and Remittances to Cuba

paper small lifting1A December 2008 white paper release by the Cuba Study Group advocating for the unilateral lifting of all restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba by U.S. nationals. The document presents several arguments to support the claim that doing so is not only in the interest of the United States, but also in the interest of Cuba's civil society. 

Recommendations

The failed policies of the Cuban regime have relegated Cuban society to a generalized state of poverty, resulting in human suffering and the separation of Cuban families. As a free society, the United States should not contribute to this separation by restricting or regulating human relationships. Nor should the United States impose additional emotional suffering or undue economic deprivation on Cuba’s people. Current travel and remittance restrictions contravene each of these principles and are inconsistent with American values.

The Cuba Study Group believes that all U.S. persons (citizens and residents) should be allowed to travel freely to Cuba, just as they are free to travel to all other countries in the world. Authorizing travel to Cuba would serve a humanitarian purpose and would help reunite families divided by this long conflict. Travel—particularly purposeful travel that includes artistic, religious and educational exchanges—would also facilitate freer flows of ideas and would help to empower civil society. Even tourists can positively contribute to such processes of exchange. Likewise, lifting remittance restrictions would provide much-needed relief to many Cubans and would reduce their dependence on the regime.

Current restrictions on travel and remittances are not only counterproductive to the goal of promoting peaceful change in Cuba, but they are also completely out of step with the times. Proponents of these policies are increasingly isolated, and strong majorities of Cuban Americans—not to mention pro-Democracy activists on the island itself—oppose these measures. The Cuba Study Group calls on the White House and Congress to jointly work to remove all restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba.