• Petitioned John Smith

This petition was delivered to:

Associate Director OFAC
John Smith
Assistant Director OFAC
Andrea Gacki
Office of Cuban Affiars-Dept of State
Peter Brennan
OFAC Director
Adam Szubin
The White House and the U.S. Treasury
Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs
Jenni LeCompte

Save Legal Travel to Cuba!

    1. Insight Cuba
    2. Petition by

      Insight Cuba

      New Rochelle, NY

  1.  
  2.   
October 2012

Victory

From Insight Cuba: Thank you to everyone's support on this petition, in Congress, and elsewhere, Insight Cuba received its license as well as numerous other organizations. Legal people-to-people travel to Cuba is back on track.

Starting last year and for only the second time since 1963, Americans like yourself, were allowed to travel to Cuba legally under President Obama’s people-to-people initiative. Licensed organizations, such as Insight Cuba were granted a special license to provide this opportunity.

Unfortunately, the federal agency (OFAC) responsible for granting these licenses is allowing many of them, including Insight Cuba’s to expire resulting in the cancellation of trips, the loss of jobs, and financial hardship in the travel industry, which is still reeling from the economy.

If you have traveled to Cuba with us or have ever thought about traveling to Cuba, let your voice be heard.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. [Reuters] U.S.- Cuba travel snarled by regulations, politics

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer
    2. [NYTimes] Licensing Rules Slow Tours to Cuba

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      AS part of a newly approved “people to people” tour in Cuba last summer, a group of Americans met with 40 blind Havana residents, who welcomed them with poetry and conversation. Then, Cubans being Cubans, four of them pulled out instruments and within minutes, arms and legs were intertwined as Americans and Cubans danced with abandon in the front yard of Cuba’s National Association for the Blind.

      “All 16 Americans were crying,” said Tom Popper, president of Insight Cuba, the tour operator that organized the trip. “Those are moments that only happen a few times in your life, and if you had gone to Cuba by yourself, you wouldn’t have been exposed to that.”

      That sort of moment may be harder to come by in the future.

      http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/travel/licensing-rules-slow-tours-to-cuba.html

    3. [Sherman Travel] Could Legal U.S. Travel to Cuba Be Ending?

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Last spring, when the U.S. government eased travel restrictions to Cuba, it marked what many believed was the opening of a new frontier for travel to the island country that, for 50 years, has been all but forbidden for most Americans to visit under the longstanding trade embargo. But the “people-to-people” program put in place by the Obama administration, which focuses on educational travel with a government-licensed operator, now appears to be on hold.

      http://blog.shermanstravel.com/2012/09/11/us-legal-travel-cuba-in-danger/#more-13043

    4. Peter Greenberg: Is this the End of People to People Travel to Cuba?

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      EC: The hard part about these organizations is that they don’t even know what the rules are. Is a mojito not allowed now? What is allowed? Right now, organizations are just trying to jump through hoops, but OFAC is notorious for not responding. Many haven’t even hard from OFAC about the status of their applications and they’re just left in the dark.

      PG: I’ll leave you with this though…I saw one of the People to People organizations, not the one I was on, but another one that was at the same hotel, and the group didn’t even go in the pool. They were that afraid.

    5. FOX News: Concern grows that legal US travel to Cuba could be in jeopardy

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Without those permits, many operators have been forced to cancel trips, refund customers’ money and lay off staff, raising the question of what will happen when – or if – their licenses are eventually approved.

      One leading operator, New Rochelle, N.Y.-based nonprofit Insight Cuba, which brought approximately 3,000 travelers on 140 trips to Cuba since August 2011, has had to cancel about 150 trips and let 22 newly hired staff members go as a result of the delay. The organization has filed an online petition to the White House and U.S. Treasury through the popular website Change.org, though president Tom Popper said he’s hopeful the renewal will be issued soon.

      http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/09/10/legal-us-travel-to-cuba-could-be-in-jeopardy/

    6. Reached 3,000 signatures
    7. LA TIMES: Cuba limbo: Island-bound U.S. groups face licensing questions

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Less than two years after President Obama set off a boom in Cuban travel by relaxing restrictions on “people-to-people” educational trips, Obama’s Treasury Department has again tightened restrictions, forcing cancellations and delays that have put dozens of educational group trips in limbo.

      http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-cuba-20120905,0,5315119.story

    8. Chicago Tribune: World Watch ~ Cuba

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Hundreds of travel-service providers applied for tour permits in 2012, yet only a fraction of the applications have been approved by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. Lacking permits, many tour operators are being forced to cancel and refund sold-out trips. A U.S. official blamed staffing issues and backlogged paperwork for the delays. The permit application increased from six pages to more than 100 pages this year.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/ct-trav-0902-world-watch-20120902,0,7615900.story

    9. Reached 2,500 signatures
    10. Havana Journal: Information and petitions about Legal Travel to Cuba

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Ellen Creager of the Detroit Free Press recently wrote this article “Is the door slamming shut for travel from U.S. to Cuba?” and she did a great job summarizing the current state of legal travel to Cuba. She writes…

      Why it is happening, nobody is sure. But the Cuba “People to People” travel program touted so highly by President Obama in 2011 is coming to a screeching halt, drowning in paperwork and non-renewed licenses for travel organizations.

      Read More at http://ow.ly/dm3Tm

    11. Solvision: U.S. Treasury Department Torpedoes Travel Program to Cuba

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      The United Status Treasury Department applied new measures to block the program People to People established by the Obama administration in 2011, to expand traveling opportunities between the U.S, and Cuba.

      New bureaucratic measures complicate the renewal of licenses issued to travel agencies last year and the application forms of an authorization to operate trips to the island increased from six to hundreds of pages to fill in...

      Read more at http://ow.ly/dlt6W

    12. Huff Post: Presidential Candidates Largely Ignore Travel Industry

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      In January 2011, President Obama issued a directive encouraging certain types of visits to Cuba and prompting tour companies to hurriedly submit applications for the new licenses required to operate these "people-to-people" educational trips.

      Senator Marco Rubio, who is scheduled to address the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, reacted differently to the directive, taking to the Senate floor to decry the trips.

      Read More at http://ow.ly/dkbOj

    13. Reached 1,500 signatures
    14. Prensa Latina News Agency : U.S. Treasury Department Torpedoes Cuba Travel

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      New bureaucratic measures complicate the renewal of licenses issued to travel agencies last year and the application forms of an authorization to operate trips to the island increased from six to hundreds of pages to fill in.

      Read More at http://ow.ly/djw4q

    15. Reached 1,000 signatures
    16. TRAVELERS TODAY: Cuba Travel Services From the U.S. Put on Hold

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Jeff Braunger, program manager for Cuba Travel Licensing under the Treasury Department told the Detroit Free Press that "we have issued approximately 140 people-to-people licenses. We are doing our best to process both first-time applications and requests to renew existing licenses."

      However almost no organizations with previous people-to-people licenses have received renewals and many advertised trips have been canceled.
      Basically companies and organizations that work within the people-to-people program are left waiting. Jim Friedlander who is the president of Academic Arrangements Abroad, said to the Detroit Free Press, "we work with about 30 different non-profit organizations that have programs to Cuba in next 12 months, and 100% of them have not received renewals of licenses."

      Read more at http://www.travelerstoday.com/articles/2803/20120823/cuba-travel-embargo-exchan

    17. Reached 500 signatures
    18. U.S. puts the brakes on American trips to Cuba

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Authorized by President Obama last year as a way to boost Americans' engagement with everyday Cubans despite a five-decade U.S. trade embargo, "people-to-people" programs to the communist island have been put on hold.

      http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2012/08/us-puts-the-brakes-on-american-trips-to-cuba/829570/1?csp=34travel

    19. Is the door slamming shut for travel from U.S. to Cuba?

      Insight Cuba
      Petition Organizer

      Why it is happening, nobody is sure. But the Cuba "People to People" travel program touted so highly by President Obama in 2011 is coming to a screeching halt, drowning in paperwork and non-renewed licenses for travel organizations.

      Almost no organizations that got licenses from the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) last year to sponsor trips to Cuba have received renewals. Trips that were advertised have been scrapped. Organizations are left to wait without any updates or information.

      -----------

      Journalist Ellen Creager touches on an issue close to our hearts. Please Read and Share your thoughts. Thank you: http://www.freep.com/article/20120822/COL21/120822010/Ellen-Creager-Is-the-door-slamming-shut-for-travel-from-U-S-to-Cuba

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • John Thomas HUDSON, WI
      • over 1 year ago

      Castro was one of my first extemporaneous speaking topics in high school (1959) and, ever since, I have been interested in Cuban affairs. Fifty-three years later, I am finally able to afford to visit Cuba and it is very important for my wife and I to do so BEFORE Cuba becomes open to all. I want to know get to know some real people before things change. Thank you.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paul Iacono RIDGEWOOD, NJ
      • over 1 year ago

      My clients are experienced and passionate travelers. The thrive on the sort of experience you get from visiting a nation like Cuba that has been cut off from American tourism for so long.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Laimis Zuniga CAPE CORAL, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      Open safe and legal travel to Cuba

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • sandra mangione HAZLET, NJ
      • over 1 year ago

      my fiancee osniel is in cuba

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Miriam Dranguet SEATTLE, WA
      • over 1 year ago

      Because I am Cuban. Also, the blockade are real hurting the cubans people. If the american people can travel to others country why they cannot visit cuba? Cuba should'n be isolate

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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