If you’re lucky enough to have a box of contraband cigars in your possession, now would be a good time to get them handy for a celebratory puff.
Last week, President Obama announced a series of initiatives intended to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. If all goes according to plan, then U.S.-Cuba relations could see the first major thaw in over 50 years, and world travelers could have front-row seats for the coming changes.
The operative word being “could.”
As of now, world travelers itching to stroll cobblestone streets through Cuba’s brightly painted colonial cities have the same options they always have:
- Country hopping – i.e., entering Cuba through another country (which is highly illegal)
- Joining a “people-to-people” cultural tour from a licensed operator
- Acquiring a “General License” (for government business, “close relatives” of Cuban Nationals,” journalists, certain religious events, etc.)
President Obama intends to expand the General License to include public performances and competitions, support for the Cuban people (including humanitarian work), information dissemination, and travel related to the export of certain products, but lifting all travel bans against Cuba would require congressional action – which they’re expected to take.
In the meantime, friendlier relations with Cuba mean more people-to-people tours from licensed operators. Globus Journeys is already offering a 9-day excursion through Cuba and if you go with a General License on-hand, you’ll be able to come back with $100 worth of previously contraband alcohol and tobacco.
So go ahead and enjoy that cigar. It looks like you’ll be able to replenish your stock soon.