President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
Congratulations on your recent inauguration. On behalf of a long list of airline and travel industry professionals in South Florida, we respectfully request a quick change to our existing Cuba travel policy. As you know, the past administration made significant changes to President Obamas’ successful policy of engagement and meaningful travel.
An increase in American visitors to Cuba flourished under President Obama’s administration and greatly benefited both Cuban and Cuban American families alike. In addition to making it easier to support our families, the policy supported a wide range of private Cuban enterprises, entrepreneurs, religious organizations, humanitarian groups, scientific researchers, and educators.
Many of us in the travel industry have long supported interaction and dialogue as a means to improve relations between our two countries. Aviation agreements allowed US airlines to operate scheduled service that immediately reduced transportation cost and opened travel to many who previously couldn’t afford it. In addition to the cost benefits, travel became convenient, organized and safe. American travelers to Cuba are our best ambassadors of American ideology and society. The meaningful interactions that resulted from the widely popular “People to People” programs paved the way for productive meetings between Americans and Cubans all across the Island.
Over the past several years, travel was all but eliminated for many of us. Unpopular changes to our travel policy make it nearly impossible for universities, religious organizations and humanitarian groups from visiting Cuba. Family reunification has always been a fundamental component to our travel policy, but today reuniting families has become increasingly difficult. Last year’s near complete ban on Cuban hotels forced American citizens to stay in homes and apartments creating a dangerous condition during a global pandemic, increasing the need to act quickly.
Our community has given unwavering support for policies of engagement, which simply improve the lives of families on both sides of the Florida straights. Your successful election gave us hope and aspirations for a better future. The airline, cruise and travel industry in Florida and across the country has been absolutely devastated by a counterproductive foreign policy and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly support and encourage a quick policy review that reinstates President Obama’s travel policy.
Xiomara Almaguer-Levy Xael Charters, Inc. Chairperson, President & CEO
Mercy Casals Xael Charters, Inc. Executive Vice President
Carlos Trujillo Aero Cuba Charters President
Giraldo Acosta Aero Cuba Charters General Manager
Mildred Diaz Invicta Group President
Eduardo Mujica Invicta Group Vice President
Monica Perez Cubazul President
Michael Zuccato Cuba Travel Services CEO