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The Fight for the Right to Travel to Cuba

Chronological Fact Sheet

Updated 2009

The U.S. has had restrictions on travel to Cuba for most of the past 40 years. While the Constitutional right to travel was technically won in a 1958 Supreme Court decision, the U.S. government and others have tried to prevent us from traveling through a variety of legal, extra legal, and illegal means. Since the beginning, people have fought back vigorously and continuously for our right to travel to Cuba.

In the 1950's the US government attempted to curtail our right to travel through passport controls (either by not issuing a passport to certain persons – Paul Robeson was the most famous) or – when that method failed to survive court challenges – by listing countries in the passport which were "invalid" for travel. When this method also failed in court, the government switched from "travel controls" to "currency controls". The current restrictions on travel to Cuba come under the Treasury Department — and not the State Department — because they have to do with the spending of money by US citizens, residents, and corporations. Of course, these "currency controls" are just a back door method to restrict our right to travel.

1958

1959

1961

1963

1964

1969

1972

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1982

1985

1986

1992

1993

1996

1997

1998

1999

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2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009