Changes afoot for travel to Cuba

A man cycles down a street in Santa Clara, Cuba. (Amelia Rayno/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

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A man cycles down a street in Santa Clara, Cuba. (Amelia Rayno/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Going to Cuba when I did (late last year) and freely walking its streets, meeting its residents and hearing their stories already felt like a privilege. Now, even more so.

Since I explored the island’s off-the-beaten-path cities and wrote about it, circumstances have changed — at least in terms of the U.S. government’s attitude toward travel there.

President Donald Trump recently outlined a new policy on Cuba that, when implemented, will reverse some of the Obama administration’s eased restrictions.

Primarily, Americans will no longer be able to plan solo people-to-people tours, as I did. But not all travel will be cut off, and it’s not happening instantly. Here’s what you need to know:

— Though Americans won’t be able to travel solo, authorized group people-to-people tours will continue.

— The changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued, which could take months or years.

— Trips for individuals who had already begun making travel arrangements before the announcement on June 16 will still be authorized.

— Restrictions on what Americans take out of Cuba (like rum and cigars) will remain the same.

— The new policy won’t affect other authorized (non-people-to-people) travel to Cuba.

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Go to treasury.gov and search "Cuba" for more details.

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