The following contains statements from a broad spectrum of supporters for current legislation in the House and the Senate (H.R. 874 and S. 428) that will allow for full travel for all Americans. Momentum is building for a change in U.S.-Cuba policy.
President Obama won the election on a platform promising to loosen restrictions on Cuban American travel and remittances. Congress followed through in March with provisions on the Omnibus appropriation that reversed restrictions from the Bush era on family travel and remittances and sales of U.S. agriculture products. Now, both Houses of Congress are moving on a bi-partisan basis to end the ban on travel to Cuba for all Americans.
This week, the sponsors of S.428 and H.R. 874, “The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act,” held press conferences and in which they unveiled strong and growing lists of cosponsors from both sides of the political aisle. The Senators who have sponsored the bill were joined by representatives of the human rights, agriculture, and business communities. House sponsors were joined by Cuban-Americans who made the principled argument that the right to travel to Cuba belongs to all Americans.
Please find enclosed the following statements of support for, “The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”.
- The Cuba Study Group
- Emergency Network of Cuban American Scholars and Artists for Change in U.S.-Cuba Policy (ENCASA)
- Letter from Miriam Leiva and Oscar Espinosa Chepe
- American Farm Bureau Federation, Bob Stallman, President
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Joint letter to President-Elect Obama from (01/21/09): American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, NationalCouncil of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Turkey Federation, North American Export Grain Association, North American Millers Association, Northarvest Bean Growers Association, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, USA Rice Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. Grains Council, US Rice Producers Association, U.S. Wheat Associates
- National Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates
- USA Rice Federation
- The National Tour Association (NTA)
- The Port of Corpus Christi, TX
- The U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation
- USA*Engage & National Foreign Trade Council
Human Rights and Policy Organizations
- Amnesty International (3/26/09) press release
- Center for Democracy in the Americas
- Freedom House (03/30/09) press release
- Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director, Americas Division
- Latin America Working Group
- TransAfrica Forum
- Washington Office on Latin America
Religious and Ecumenical Organizations
- National Council of Churches USA
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Church World Service
- Joint letter from: African Methodist Episcopal Church, Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches of the U.S.A., American Baptist Churches International Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, Office of the General Minister and President, Christian Reformed Church in North America Church of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office Church World Service, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office, Progressive National Baptist Convention, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
- U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange (on behalf of more than1,200 Americans artists and performers)
- Philip Peters, Vice President, Lexington Institute “A new era for Cuba” op-ed in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 1, 2009.
- Wayne Smith, Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy, “U.S.-Cuba policy Time to end deceitful travel controls,” op-ed South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 29, 2009.
- Washington Post, “Momentum Grows for Relaxing Cuba Policy Senate Measure Would Eliminate Travel Ban”, March 30, 2009
Poll after poll has proved 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.
Similarly, this legislation is supported by a broad spectrum of constituencies including Cuban-Americans, the business and agriculture community, prominent U.S. human rights organizations, religious groups and others, united in their belief that after 50-years of failure, it is time for a new approach to U.S.-Cuba policy.