Challenging the Cuba travel ban

Almost all licenses permitting travel to Cuba have been revoked under the Bush administration’s new aggressive measures toward Cuba in the last year. As a result, the number of groups and individuals going to Cuba has decreased tremendously.

Photo: Alicia Jrapko

In response, a number of groups have challenged the U.S. law and never complied with the license procedure. Since 1969, the Venceremos Brigade has challenged the blockade. In the midst of the “Special Period,” beginning in 1992, Pastors for Peace, a religious-based organization, brought humanitarian aid to Cuba every year without applying for a Treasury Department License. The African Awareness Association, the U.S.-Cuba Labor Exchange, and others have joined the challenge.

Some of these same groups returned from a challenge trip in early August. Despite harassment and threats by the Bush administration, all participants were able to return to the United States. The U.S. government did seize computers that the Pastors for Peace caravan was trying to take to Cuba for humanitarian purposes.

The Bush administration’s policy toward Cuba is cruel and inhumane. Bush and his predecessors have been preventing U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba to keep the truth from being revealed. Despite a 45-year blockade from the most powerful country on earth, Cuba has maintained its gains and continues to provide free health care and education to all its citizens. This fact alone instills fear into the United States government and ruling class because it shows the possibilities for society under socialism.

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