WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
23 Feb 2010

WOLA Applauds New Legislation on U.S. Travel and Trade with Cuba

The Washington Office on Latin American (WOLA) today welcomes the introduction of the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act, legislation that will facilitate the sale of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba and allow all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. The legislation is co-sponsored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Representative Jerry Moran (R-KS).

As a leading U.S. human rights organization, WOLA's support for efforts to increase the flow of people, ideas, and goods between the U.S. and Cuba is rooted in the belief that dialogue and contact are necessary in order to promote human rights and political opening in Cuba.

“Our current failed sanctions regime towards Cuba only punishes innocent bystanders – the Cuban people and the American people,” said Geoff Thale, WOLA Program Director.

“Instead, this bill seeks to serve the interests of both by providing an economic life-line to U.S. agriculture and businesses, and a humanitarian one to the Cuban people through greater people-to-people contact and access to food in Cuba.”

In addition to supporting President Obama’s call to increase U.S exports around the world, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act would also serve a long-standing U.S. interest in promoting human rights in Cuba by allowing for the kind of people-to-people engagement that leading U.S. and Cuban human rights advocates have long called for.

WOLA applauds House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and the other original co-sponsors of the bill for their leadership on this important issue.

Geoff Thale, Program Director