The Fund for Reconciliation & Development
Celebrates its 35th year in 2020
FFRD has been on the front lines of building human connections between the people of the US and those of former adversaries. Its work began with Vietnam when the founder arrived in Hanoi on April 30, 1975, the day the war ended, on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace organization.
The FFRD is a catalyst
For healing US relations with countries that have been considered enemies and dealing with the consequences of war.
We were founded in 1985
To end US embargoes and to restore diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. We have have the same goals today with Cuba, starting with regaining the right to travel for all Americans.
Our primary focus
Is to seek the best ways to develop mutual understanding and trust such as travel and educational and cultural exchange, as well as assistance from non-governmental organizations, foundations and business. We engage on all sides of conflicts with policy makers and influencers as well as with the media, using direct experience on the ground to advocate for context shaping political change.
Learn more about traveling to Cuba, and the rights you have as an American.
1: Traveling to Cuba
US citizens and residents can legally visit Cuba through twelve categories of general licenses that no longer require applications or reports to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The most broadly accessible channel is Support for the Cuban People which tour groups and independent travelers can use.
US commercial airlines offer scheduled non-stop flights to Havana and provincial airports in Cuba from Florida, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Texas and Massachusetts. Americans can also use non-US airlines from third countries. Schedules can be found on Google Flights and other booking engines or on the web sites of American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest and United Airlines..
It is very possible to find rooms in good hotels through booking.com and cubatravelnetwork. However Support for the Cuban People in essence requires independent travelers to stay in the thousands of comfortable rooms available in private homes (casas particulares) at significantly lower cost. They can be found through Trip Adviser, Airbnb and similar online services.
Airlines do not require proof that travelers qualify for the general license category they claim. No one has been punished for unauthorized travel since the last year of the Bush Administration.
Our travel blog is here.
Guidance about creating an independent program under Support for the Cuban People can be found here.
OFAC regulations as of June 5, 2019, are here.
General information for visitors is here.
Irish and Irish American links to Cuba are here.
2: Make your Plans a Reality
a) Consider whether your first trip to Cuba should be an introduction to the island or a deep dive into part of it, and how much you want to be in Havana or other cities.
b) Decide based on personal preferences and costs whether you want to join a tour groupor create a self-directed program for yourself or with friends and family.
c) Pick a week or two that fits with your schedule, weather patterns and the likely availability of accomodations and popular destinations.
d) Consult a travel agent or explore the web to book flights, accomodations and itinerary.
3: Get ready to Travel!
Congratulations! You are still in early stage of Americans discovering Cuba. Before you go, learn more about the island, its people, and its history with our recommended readings below and logistics information.
[Photo during moment of silence at US-Cuba baseball game for victims of terrorism in Europe. Current President Miguel Diaz-Canel is on the right.]
Cuba Travel Policy Update
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his deputy Mauricio Claver-Carone took advantage of President Trump's visit to Europe in June to destroy all cruise travel from the US. They also blocked educational people to people travel by groups.
However, most tour operators have revised their programs to qualify under the Support for the Cuban People license which can also be used by independent travelers.
Flights from the US to regional cities were blocked, first by commercial carriers then by charter companies (as of March 10, 2020). Although justified as a way to deny funds to the Cuban government, the measures actually increase State revenue by requiring additional domestic travel. The more likely motivation is to inconvenience and thus punish Cuban Americans who are "disloyal" to Florida hard liners by visiting their family.
The only real solution is to change the law.
US cruises to Cuba could be back in business this season and all kinds of other options become available if the US Congress adopts legislation to end travel restrictions. The Senate bill already as 47 cosponsors and can be read here. The House bill can be read here. If constituents become active, passage should not be hard as 81% of Americans oppose restrictions on travel to Cuba. Personal contact with your Representative and Senators is most effective, but adding your name here to our petition is a good first step.
Executive Director & Founder
John McAuliff has been an active participant in the civil rights, peace and equitable development movements in the United States since the 1960s. In 1985 he founded the Fund for Reconciliation and Development. McAuliff has traveled to Southeast Asia over fifty times, is recognized as an expert on the history of US-Indochina relations and maintains strong contact with key people in the region and in Washington. His current program work is largely focused on achieving normalization with Cuba.
Our past work in Indochina and beyond.
The Fund For Reconciliation and Development, 1985-2015
Riverhead, New York