Our U.S. government permits us to travel anywhere and everywhere in the world, right?
By U.S. government edict, Cuba is the only country off limits to virtually all Americans.
The U.S. government allows Cuban-Americans and a few others to visit Cuba, but bans the other 99% of Americans from venturing to the island nation of 11 million people.
Here is why: The U.S. remains entrenched in an archaic and nonsensical de facto cold war with Cuba.
During the actual Cold War, the U.S. never banned its citizens from visiting the Soviet Union or China.
Is Cuba such a dire threat to the U.S. and Americans that the U.S. should deprive Americans of the right to visit that country?
Here are the top five reasons we should demand an immediate end to the U.S. government’s Cuba travel ban:
1. Our freedom: We should be free to travel wherever we choose without U.S. government hindrance.
2. Human rights double standard: The U.S. and the international community rightly call for human rights in Cuba, but the U.S. call rings hollow when the U.S. forbids its own citizens from visiting Cuba – a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and the U.S. is the only nation in the world with a Cuba travel ban.
3. Travel ban double standard: If the U.S. government believes it appropriate to ban Americans from visiting nations that have a deplorable human rights record, the U.S. should declare dozens of countries off limits to Americans. Yet Americans are free to visit China and Saudi Arabia, U.S. allies whose human rights records are far worse than Cuba’s, as well as Iran, Syria and North Korea.
4. Failed policy: The U.S. government’s attempts to isolate, undermine, and change the Cuban government have failed miserably for nearly five decades. It’s time for a new approach that includes allowing all Americans to visit Cuba.
5. Popular opinion: Most Americans and Cuban-Americans favor ending the travel ban, according to public opinion polls. During my dozens of trips to Cuba as a journalist, the overwhelming majority of average Cubans I encountered wanted the U.S. travel ban ended, too.
President Obama and Congress should do what is right: End the Cuba travel ban now.