Friday, February 13, 2009

Freedom to Travel To Cuba Act in Congress!

Less than two weeks after my prediction that the Cuba Embargo Ends This Year a bill was introduced by Rep. William Delahunt [D-MA] into Congress calling for the end of travel restrictions to or from Cuba.

Titled "Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act", H.R. 874 will allow US Citizens and legal residents to travel to and from Cuba.

Here is a copy of the current text of the bill:

This Act may be cited as the ‘Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act’.

On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, and subject to section 3-- (1) the President may not regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents, or any of the transactions incident to such
travel; and(2) any regulation in effect on such date of enactment that regulates or prohibits travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents or transactions incident to such travel shall cease to ave any force or effect.

Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.

This Act applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of
this Act that are in effect on such date of enactment, and to actions taken on or after such date.

The provisions of this Act apply notwithstanding section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)) and section
910(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7210(b)).

Currently H.R. 874 has been referred to the House Foriegn Affairs committee.

Meanwhile, another bill currently in the House Agriculture committee, H.R. 188, introduced by Rep. José Serrano [D-NY] and titled the "Cuba Reconciliation Act", goes much further than lifting travel restrictions. The Cuba Reconciliation Act:

- Removes restrictions of trade and other relations with Cuba, including the repeal the embargo act of 1961, ending the Trading With the Enemy Act with respect to Cuba, allowing for exports to Cuba, repeals the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the removal of other acts and provisions that restricted trade and relations with Cuba.

-Allows telecommunications carriers to install, maintain, and repair telecommunications equipment in Cuba, and provide telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba.

-Removes travel restrictions to and from Cuba - including allowing transactions incidental to travel.

-Instructs the US Postal Service to begin direct mail service to and from Cuba.

Similar bills have been introduced to Congress during the past 5 years - all of them "died" in committee.

The Cuba embargo has been an injustice to the citizens of Cuba and the United States. It is time for this counter-productive policy to end. Call, write, or email your Congressional representitive and let them know you support this bill. (Click here to find your representitive)

To keep track of the progress of this bill in Congress, below is the bill's status (which will be automatically updated):

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1 comment:

Bob Kelly said...

I'm fired up and ready to go. When we do, it should be in a "friendship flotilla" from Key West (as first suggested in January by Jim Gilleran).

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!