The Obama Administration has unnecessarily prolonged most of George Bush’s punitive restrictions on travel to Cuba imposed in 2004.
Bush justified his action as a response to Cuba’s 2003 Black Spring arrests. Cuba’s release of the 54 still imprisoned from that time creates a reasonable expectation for the US to undo related travel restrictions.
In any case, it is inexcusable that the White House gives higher priority to appeasing a small group of self-interested politicians and campaign donors in Florida and New Jersey than to implementing its own pro-dialogue values and the pro-travel views of two thirds of Americans.
Only Congress can enable complete freedom to travel and normal tourism. But the President has the power to set an example. With the stroke of a pen Barack Obama can open the window for tens of thousands of Americans who seriously want to build contact and mutual understanding through people-to-people exchanges.
Logically his next step should be to open the door by providing support for legislation to end all travel restrictions in conformity with his campaign pledge:
"if a post-Fidel government takes significant steps toward democracy, beginning with freeing all political prisoners, the U.S. is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades."
Neither the President nor the Congress should be let off the hook!
Urgent!! A new letter has been posted taking account of many news stories of an anticipated Presidential announcement soon of liberalized travel regulations. After sending the following message to the President, please consider also joining the next level of this campaign by clicking here
Cuba’s promise to release all prisoners arrested in the “Black Spring” of 2003 meets your requirement for additional reform in US policy.
Just as you opened the way more than a year ago for Cuban American family visits with a general license free of bureaucratic impediments, you should today restore to all Americans the right to unrestricted travel for non-tourist purposes of education, culture, religion, humanitarianism, sports, dialogue, mutual understanding and support for the Cuban people.
Cuba has said it will release its remaining one hundred non-violent political opponents. We ask you in the same spirit of change to endorse legislation easing agricultural sales and enabling complete freedom of travel (HR 4645, S 3112).