Orbitz Keeps Plugging for Cuba Travel

By Circles Robinson

Cubas Omara Portuondo, a recent Grammy winner.  Photo: Caridad
Cuba's Omara Portuondo, a recent Grammy winner. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 13 – Orbitz Worldwide travel company continues to campaign for an end to the US ban on its citizens from visiting neighboring Cuba.  The OpenCuba.org campaign started by the firm has to date received 100,000 signatures from people trying to send a message to Washington.

On November 18, the House Foreign Relations Committee holds an open hearing on the travel ban on Capitol Hill.  Legislation known as the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (HR 874) would do away with the prohibition.  The bill currently has 180 co-sponsors and similar one in the Senate has 32 co-sponsors.

“Never before in the history of the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba has there been such an upwelling of popular support for change,” said Barney Harford, president and CEO of Orbitz Worldwide.

Cuba is the only country in the world that the US government prohibits its citizens from visiting.  It’s been that way for nearly a half century except for a brief interlude during the Carter Administration in the late 1970s.

Orbitz notes that since launching their campaign Open Cuba.org has received support from several Cuban-American groups “including the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights and Friends of Caritas Cubana.

“U.S. lawmakers and President Obama have a historic opportunity in front of them to restore the right and freedom of all Americans to visit Cuba,” said Jake Colvin, vice president, National Foreign Trade Council. “This is a strong reflection of the grassroots support that exists for the complete removal of U.S. travel restrictions.”

Travel agents on both sides of the Florida Straight believe an end to the travel ban would bring a much needed boom to their trade.

The other major issue between the US and Cuba, and by far the biggest for the Caribbean island, is the nearly five decade long US economic blockade on Cuba.  The blockade, which some call the embargo, has succeeded in stifling the country’s development but not managed to topple the government, the main objective.

2 thoughts on “Orbitz Keeps Plugging for Cuba Travel

  • Like the above poster, I too am British. However hopefully I’m a little less obnoxiously xenophobic. Here in Europe the abuse of America has become rampant. I’m not saying there isn’t plenty to criticise in American foreign policy, but this kind of casual abuse is just horrible to see.

    I held very similair opinions about Americans not so long ago, however during an exchange program I radically changed my opinion , Americans are just like everyone else: some of them are nice, others not so much.

    As for the travel ban I think the above story also shows how travel and cultural contact/exchange is so vital and informative. I firmly believe lifting the travel ban would facilitate better co-operation between the two countries, which can’t be a bad thing.

    Oh, and “Soy Cuba” means I am Cuba. I do recommend that everyone who hasn’t seen it yet should immediately rush out and rent a copy though.

  • Perhaps the citizens of the US of A should explore their cnscience before they attempt to abuse such a wonderful Country ( AGAIN ).
    To all you Americans, you have used or abused the rest of the Caribbean Islands as your playground.
    Cuba is unique and hopefully should remain so.
    I speak as a citizen of the United Kingdom who visits Cuba and relish in the absence of Americans.
    I had to tolerate them whilst staying with relatives in Bermuda. Enough was enough! I returned to the UK prematurely.
    I have spent a good part of my life in main land Europe, mainly France.
    To all you Americans, you have a vast continent, explore that.
    Likewise watch the film SOY CUBA (My Cuba).

    To your President, don’t follow your predecessors, simply lift the blockade on trade. It’s immature and out of date.
    Grow up America!

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