Latin America Working Group
At the close of 2004, President Bush created the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba to “explore ways we can help hasten… Cuba’s… transition.” In May of 2005, the Commission released its first report; and shortly after, President Bush accepted the full set of recommendations. Included in the recommendations were strict new restrictions on Cuban-American family travel to the island. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implemented the Commission’s recommendations, including those on family travel to the island.
Prior to these new restrictions, Cuban Americans could travel to the island on a general license once a year to visit family, and additional visits could be licensed for emergencies or other family needs. The new regulations limit Cuban-American family travel to once every three years. They narrowly define family to grandparents, parents, siblings, and children, and make no exception for family or humanitarian emergencies. As the photo exhibit testimonials demonstrate, this unjust policy has prohibited Cuban Americans from returning to the island to care for sick relatives, attend family funerals, or even visit their own children more than once in three years.