Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gov't pulls agent's Cuba travel license

MIAMI, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department suspended the license this week of a major South Florida travel agency that booked 300 to 500 trips to Cuba a week.

The suspension is part of a crackdown on groups and companies that arrange travel to the island nation, the Miami Herald reports. The Office of Foreign Assets Control has also been questioning Christian groups that have licenses for Cuban travel.

Pierre Galoppi, owner of La Estrella de Cuba, told the newspaper that agents visited his branches in South Florida on Monday with letters notifying managers of the suspension. He said all trips that had already been booked would be honored.

The Bush administration has cracked down on visits to Cuba, making it tougher even for Cuban-Americans wanting to spend time with relatives. The new policy has split South Florida's Cuban community.

Some people were using licenses held by Santero religious groups to go to Cuba, and switched to Christian organizations when the government began questioning the spurt of interest in Santeria.

© Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc.

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