Is it legal for a US citizen to independently travel to Cuba in 2013? If not what are the penalties?
No it isn't "Legal" but we always see US citizens in Cuba. They fly from Canadian border cities as well as from Mexico and Bahamas. The opinion here is, you'll have far more trouble bringing back rum and cigars than you'll have for going. There are voluntary fines if you wish but Cuba won't stamp your passport unless you ask.Edited: 7:28 pm, January 03, 2013
Yes if you meet the requirements of either a General or a Specific licence then independent travel IS legal. It is not mandatory to travel via a licenced US travel agency.
Why not read the OFAC regulations?
Assuming that you do not meet the requirements of these licences then your alternatives are legally via one of the aforesaid licenced travel agencies or illegally via a 3rd country as detailed by SpunkyNB.
This is not the forum to obtain legal advice however it is worthe noting that no one from the USA has been fined even minimally for several years for travel to Cuba despite 1000's doing so every year.Edited: 7:38 pm, January 03, 2013
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