Why Can’t Americans Go to Cuba?

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Individual travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is illegal due to an embargo against Cuba, explains the U.S. State Department. As of 2014, Americans cannot legally travel to Cuba under a tourist visa, but legal travel options do exist for those with relatives in Cuba and for participants in cultural programs.

The trade embargo against certain economic and travel activities in Cuba started in 1960, according to the U.S. State Department. President Kennedy enacted a complete trade embargo with travel bans, states the Council on Foreign Relations. President Eisenhower introduced the first economic conditions on Cuba. During the Cold War, Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and began an alliance with the Soviet Union, while closing American private interests on the island.

The position of the U.S. government focuses on an increase in democratic and human rights as reasons for the embargo as of 2014, according to the U.S. State Department. The U.S. government also considers Cuba as a sponsor of terrorists. Travel to Cuba requires a license from the U.S Department of Treasury. Americans travel to Cuba with itinerary and expense restrictions with approval under religious, educational or person-to-person cultural interaction reasons, according to About.com. Tour companies offer immersion experiences approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury.