U.S. House of Representatives members Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, who are from Florida districts that have a high Cuban-American population, have written to the U.S. Treasury Department asking for an investigation into whether the couple had the proper government permits to travel to the island nation, reports Reuters.
“Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press
reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime
touted it as such in its propaganda. We represent a community of many
who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s
atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of
murdered innocents,” the representatives write in their letter.
The prohibition the letter references is the part of the embargo that says that persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction must be licensed to travel to Cuba and that travel that is solely for the sake of tourism is prohibited.
The couple could now face Congressional inquiries for their trip. Penalties for violating this travel ban can include fines up to $250,000 and jail time. The State Department says it had no prior knowledge of the couple’s visit to Cuba. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section tells Reuters she does not know if the couple obtained a license for the trip.