Trips to Cuba of U.S. Tourists will Depend on Congress, Says State Department on Twitter

us-cuban-flagHAVANA, Cuba, Aug 11 (acn) The State Department of the United States ratified through its official account on the social network Twitter -@USAenEspanol- that the fact that U.S. citizens can freely travel to Cuba as tourists will depend on the U.S. Congress.

While answering a question by ACN in an online forum through Twitter, representatives of U.S. diplomacy said that beyond the 12 general categories approved to travel to Cuba and that does not include sightseeing on the island, legislative action is needed.

“@POTUS –abbreviation of President Barack Obama in the social network- has asked Congress to lift the blockade,” ratified the State Department.

To the question of Internet user Hugo Huguet Blanco on Obama’s executive powers to lift the ban on citizens of that country to travel to Cuba, the State Department pointed out that the president simplified options, but only to remove certain restrictions.

In that sense they recognized in the online forum through @USAenEspanol that the legal framework of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba is complex and depends on the decision of Congress.

The Obama administration removed on January 16 some restrictions on trade and travel for certain categories of U.S. citizens to Cuba that modified the implementation of aspects of the blockade, but the total ban on travel to the island was not lifted, which requires the approval of the Capitol.

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents in that country who qualify within the 12 authorized categories, among which we find those made for religious, educational, humanitarian and cultural purposes, can travel to Cuba.

Tourism in Cuba is prohibited for U.S. citizens by section 7209 (b) of the Law on Amendments to the Trade Sanctions and Expanding Exports of 2000, in which “tourism” is defined as any unauthorized trip, even under one of the 12 existing categories.

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican for Arizona, who led repeated efforts a decade ago to remove the travel ban, recently introduced a new bill with a two-party sponsorship to remove restrictions on this subject, called Freedom to Travel to Cuba of 2015.

Flake said at the time that unless there is an urgent reason of national security U.S. citizens should be allowed to have the right to travel wherever they want to, “it is a matter of freedom,” he emphasized.

The State Department said it expects that services of regular commercial flights between Cuba and the United States begin soon, for which it continues to work with the Cuban government to reach agreement on the expansion of air services.

Through @0USAenEspanol, it was confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry will travel on Friday to this capital for the official reopening of the Embassy of the northern nation in Havana.

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