Mr. President, Be Bold on People to People Travel to Cuba
President Obama has the power to remove all restrictions on travel to Cuba for non-tourist purposes.
Significant reform was approved by the Administration during the summer, at least to the level of people to people travel permitted during the Clinton Administration.
However, the announcement was postponed until after the mid-term election at the behest of White House political staff. They yielded to pressure from a well-funded special interest group of five Cuban Americans and their allies in Congress.
You can contribute to the debate within the Administration by sending this message, with the option of modification based on your personal experience and views.
The White House must recognize that disappointment will turn to anger if it does not finally allow non-tourist travel.
After you send your letter to the President, please use the means provided to bring friends and colleagues into this critical effort as quickly as possible.
For further information, read thehavananote.com
I agree with Governor Bill Richardson that you, “should issue an executive order to lift as much of the travel ban as possible... Loosening travel restrictions is in U.S. interests and would be a bold move toward normalization of relations with Cuba.”
Just as you did for Cuban Americans more than a year ago, I urge you to use your power now to authorize general licenses for all Americans who want to travel to Cuba for non-tourist purposes such as education, culture, religion, humanitarianism, sports, dialogue, advocacy, meeting potential business partners and support for the Cuban people.
The serious national security responsibilities of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the rights of Americans must no longer be compromised by the time consuming and costly bureaucratic process of case by case travel applications.
OFAC's mandated monopoly for 250 Travel Service Providers must also end so all US agents and tour operators are free to book legal travel.
In a similar spirit, please enable US non-governmental organizations, as well as individuals, to assist in a normal manner humanitarian and educational programs of Cuban schools, hospitals and social service institutions, public as well as private.
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