WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

25 Jul 2019 | Press Release

Bipartisan Group of U.S. Lawmakers Introduces Legislation to Allow All Travel to Cuba

Washington, DC—A bipartisan group of 46 senators is backing legislation that would end all remaining restrictions on the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he will introduce the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2019 on Monday, July 29. Identical legislation is being introduced today in the House by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).

The legislation introduced today in Congress ends current restrictions on tourist travel to Cuba and removes existing limits on non-tourist travel. This makes it possible for all U.S. citizens to travel freely and legally to the island. 

“Despite uncertainty surrounding the future of U.S. policy on Cuba, this bill clearly reflects what the overwhelming majority of Americans support: improving ties with Cuba, lifting the embargo, and restoring the rights of Americans to travel freely,” said WOLA Director for Cuba Marguerite Jiménez. “While the bilateral relationship between the United States and Cuba is worse today than it’s been in decades, these bipartisan bills are a critical first step towards re-engaging with the island,” she said. 

In addition to the critical need to re-establish bilateral relationships with Cuba, the proposed legislation stands to further advance a number of areas of mutual interest to both countries.

“Greater engagement is beneficial for both Cubans and Americans,” said WOLA Vice President Geoff Thale. “The United States has a range of mutual interests, including national security, immigration, environmental protection, and counternarcotics, that directly benefit from engagement with our counterparts in Cuba.”