Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

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The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act is a bill that was introduced into the U.S. Congress in February 2009. The proposed legislation would allow U.S. citizens to engage in unrestricted travel to Cuba for the first time since 1963. The bill was introduced by Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass) with eight co-sponsors, including Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn), Sam Farr (D-Calif), and Ron Paul (R- Texas).[1][2]

Bob Whitley, president of the United States Tour Operators Association, has supported the measure, remarking "if Americans don't like the policies of the government of a country, they can choose not to go. But a lot of people want to see Cuba because they've been denied the right."[3]

The bill is currently[when?] sidelined in a committee.

Support[edit]

"Democracy in Cuba is not the issue. The issue is what is best for America and not having individual rights suppressed by a handful of Batistianos. Can you imagine Taiwan telling America not to have normal relations with China? Why should that South Florida family feud influence anybody else's thinking?"

— Al Fox, president of the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy [4]

As of July 2009, the bill had more than 150 Congressional signatories.[4] Florida attorney Tony Martinez has voiced support of the bill noting that "U.S. foreign policy shouldn't be manipulated to serve a political agenda", while noting that "the majority of all Americans want the ending of the embargo and the lifting of travel restrictions."[4]

In July 2010, Newsweek magazine reported that a poll conducted by Andy Gomez, associate provost at the University of Miami, found that 64 percent of Cuban-Americans in Miami now support a unilateral lifting of the travel ban.[5] In lieu of changing perceptions, former Democratic Senator Gary Hart criticized the continuing embargo, remarking "second generation Cuban-Americans are finally beginning to change their community's attitudes and make it clear they no longer are interested in holding the mighty U.S.'s foreign policy toward a tiny nearby country hostage to their parents' anger."[6]

In June 2011, former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern spoke out against the travel ban before visiting Cuba, remarking:

"It's a stupid policy. There's no reason why we can't be friends with the Cubans, and vice versa. A lot of them have relatives in the United States, and some Americans have relatives in Cuba, so we should have freedom of travel ... We seem to think it's safe to open the door to a billion communists in China but for some reason, we're scared to death of the Cubans." [7]

McGovern blamed "embittered Cuban exiles in Miami" for keeping the embargo alive all these years, because of their dislike for Fidel Castro.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bill would drop travel restrictions to Cuba, South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 10, 2009
  2. ^ Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2009, THOMAS
  3. ^ Cuba: Close, but no Cigar for U.S. Tourists by Kitty Bean Yancey, USA Today
  4. ^ a b c Discussing U.S.-Cuba Relations By Joe O'Neill, Tampa Bay Tribune, July 8, 2009
  5. ^ Havana Dreaming by Arian Campo-Flores, Newsweek magazine, July 24, 2010
  6. ^ Fiction in Foreign Policy by Gary Hart, The Huffington Post, March 7, 2011
  7. ^ a b George McGovern heading to Cuba to visit Castro by Margery A. Beck, The Miami Herald, June 30, 2011

External links[edit]