U.S. State Department Issues Reduced Cuba Travel Warning

by Richard D'Ambrosio
U.S. State Department Issues Reduced Cuba Travel Warning

Busy streets in Havana, Cuba. Despite the downgraded warning, the U.S. State Department is still warning Americans against travel to Cuba. Photo: Denys Turavtsov/Shutterstock.com


The U.S. State Department is advising Americans to “reconsider travel to Cuba due to health attacks directed at U.S. Embassy Havana employees,” a change from the State Department’s Sept. 29, 2017 warning advising against Cuba travel entirely.

The State Department made the change on its website on Wednesday, after a “very careful assessment,” according to acting deputy assistant secretary Michelle Bernier-Toth, who spoke during a teleconference on Wednesday.

The website now recommends avoiding the Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri, where U.S. diplomats stayed when they started to feel the symptoms from unexplained brain disorders in 2017.

Chad Olin, CEO and founder of tour operator Cuba Candela, noted the reduced warning.

“The travel warning never made sense,” Olin said “There was never any evidence of any threat to public safety or any threat to U.S. tourists. To the contrary, millions of tourists safely visit Cuba every year, including a record high of 620,000 U.S. citizens in 2017. Our travelers have repeatedly stated that they felt very safe in Cuba.”

During the teleconference Wednesday, Bernier-Toth said that despite the explicit change from advising against travel to reconsidering travel, there has been “no change in our assessment of what is going on in Cuba. There is an investigation into what happened, and we are not going to speculate until we have final answers.”

As part of their effort to make their information more accessible, in November, the State Department launched a more mobile-friendly version of the site.

To receive security and other important updates while traveling, U.S. citizens can enroll their travel plans in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

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