Americans who want to see Cuba will have one less option at the end of this year, when the last of the educational (or "people-to-people") licenses that enabled 16,000 U.S. citizens to visit the island last year will expire.
According to Taylor Griffin, a spokesman at the Treasury Department, this type of license is being suspended because it was too often abused. "It was used for trips that amounted to little more than tourist travel," Griffin says.
Where does that leave Americans who don't want to risk being fined thousands of dollars for illegal travel to the island?There's little hope, unless you're a journalist, student, missionary, or one of the other professionals permitted by the U.S. government to be there. Though the House of Representatives passed a bill in September to ease travel restrictions to the island, President Bush has on several occasions said that he'll veto the measure if it reaches him.
At press time, the Center for Cuban Studies (212/242-0559; www.cubaupdate.org), Global Exchange (415/255-7296; www.globalexchange.org), Cross-Cultural Solutions (800/380-4777; www.crossculturalsolutions.org), and Cubanow.org (502/479-3666; www.cubanow.org) still had room on their 2003 itineraries.