U.S. changes “do not travel” to Cuba warning


The United States this Wednesday left Cuba out of the “do not travel” level in the new system of the Department of State’s warnings, which does not include any American or European country in that classification.

However, a high-ranking government official explained in a press telephone call that “the assessment about the situation on the island has not changed.”

In the last warning about Cuba issued by the Department of State on September 29, with the previous system, it warned Americans to not travel to Cuba because of the alleged attacks suffered on the island between November 2016 and August 2017 against a total of 24 employees of the embassy or family members, attacks for which the United States still has not found the cause or culprit.

The government official explained that, when all the non-essential personnel is withdrawn from an embassy, as was the case for Cuba in September, the country in question is directly included in levels 3 and 4 of the new system (that of “reconsider travel” and “do not travel,” respectively).

However, and despite the repeated questions in relation to this, she did not explain why Cuba was included in level 3 and not 4, when its last travel warning, precisely issued because of that crisis, asked Americans to abstain from traveling.

She mentioned, without going into depth, that the countries where there is “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks” are included in level 4.

The United States includes 11 nations in that level: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.

Nevertheless, the foreign policy official explained that the United States cannot forbid its citizens from traveling to any country in the world, and can only make recommendations.

The exception is North Korea: if a U.S. citizen wants to travel to that nation he/she must previously ask for authorization to use his/her passport or, if he/she doesn’t get it, use one from another country, if he/she has one.

For the nations in level 3 (“reconsider travel”), the United States recommends its citizens to “avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security.”

Six Latin American countries are included in that group: Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

For Venezuela is makes an added warning: “There are areas with still more serious risks to safety and security.”

Level 2, “exercise increased caution,” includes in the region Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Guyana.

In the European Union, countries like Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom are in that group due to the possibility of “terrorist attacks.”

In 2017 almost triple the number of Americans traveled to Cuba compared to the previous year, for a 191 percent growth, according to Josefina Vidal, general director for the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

EFE / OnCuba

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