“Momentum for change in U.S.-Cuba policy is building,” said Geoff Thale, Program Director of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), today.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Senators Dorgan, Enzi, Dodd and Lugar introduced "The Freedom to Travel Act," that would allow unrestricted travel to Cuba for all Americans.
“These Senators recognize that our stale, policy of isolation has failed,” said Thale. “Americans traveling to Cuba is not only in the interest of the United States, but is a right that should be enjoyed by all Americans,”
Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans want an end to the travel ban. An October 2008 Zogby/Inter-American Dialogue poll found that 68% of likely voters believe all U.S. citizens should be allowed to travel to Cuba.
President Obama took an important initial step when he repealed Bush-era restrictions on Cuban-American family travel and remittances. “The Senate is now taking President Obama’s thinking to its logical conclusion in acting to ensure all Americans can travel to Cuba,” said Thale.
S. 428 and its companion legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R 874, are supported by a broad spectrum of constituencies including Cuban-Americans, the business and agriculture community, prominent U.S. human rights organizations, religious institutions and others.
“These two bills respond to the will of the American people when it comes to U.S.-Cuba policy," said Thale. “It’s time for the U.S Congress to heed that call and act decisively this year to end the ban on travel to Cuba for all Americans.”
Joy Olson, Executive Director
Photo by Andrew Wragg via Flickr Creative Commons.