Cuba travel suspended by U.S. tour company

 

The Miami Herald

One of the first travel companies to jump into the Cuba trips allowed by a new Obama administration policy has suspended the tours amid questions that trouble both opponents and supporters of increased travel to the island.

The luxury travel firm Abercrombie & Kent advertised its tours for non-Cuban Americans, which included salsa dancing and rum-laced mojitos, under the “people to people” travel policy unveiled Jan. 28.

It quickly sold out 13 tours organized in conjunction with the Foundation for Caribbean Studies, holder of one of the licenses to organize people to people trips issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC).

But an OFAC statement on July 25 pointed at problems with A&K’s arrangement with the Foundation, and sparked questions about the California-based group.

As a result of the OFAC statement, the company “suspended all Cuba-related travel bookings until it can ensure it is fully compliant with this new guidance,” A&K media relations manager Jean Fawcett wrote in an email to El Nuevo Herald.

People to people travel started under President Clinton to allow non-Cuban U.S. residents to engage in “meaningful interaction” with everyday Cubans in "support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future.’’ Cuban Americans travel for family reunifications, but all tourist visits are illegal.

The Bush administration shut people-to-people travel amid widespread complaints that Americans were engaging in thinly disguised tourism, and President Barack Obama reopened it Jan. 28.

Without naming names, OFAC’s July statement noted that companies that do not have a license to organize Cuba trips cannot use another firm’s license. Fawcett confirmed A&K does not have an OFAC license.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category