By Dawn Gable

Reading the newspaper in Havana. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, May 28 — Next week the United States House of Representatives Agricultural Committee is expected to vote on the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (H.R. 4645) that was introduced by the committee’s chairman Rep. Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Moran (R-KS) earlier this year.

As written, the bill would restore U.S. citizens’ right to travel to Cuba and improve procedures for U.S. agricultural sales to the island.  Although there are fears that the travel language will get stripped from the bill before passage out of the committee, according to the Latin American Working Group (LAWG), Rep. Peterson is committed to pushing the bill through fully intact.

Once it passed, the next step would be a full House vote.  Mavis Anderson Senior Associate of LAWG explains that there has not “been an up-or-down vote in Congress on a stand-alone piece of legislation to retire the travel ban” in the 12 years she has been working on the issue.

If the bill were to eventually pass the full House, the Senate would have to pass a similar legislation and both bills would then be subject to a reconciliation process, if there are differences to be hammered out, before being presented to the President for his signature.  Currently the Senate bill most closely resembling HR 4645 is S 1089, which is currently sitting in the Senate Finance Committee.  LAWG hopes that the House bill will create the momentum needed for the Senate to act.

Earlier in this Congressional session, all hopes and efforts were behind the bills HR 874 in the House and S 428 in the Senate.  Despite the huge number of cosponsors for each, 178 and 39 respectively, HR 874 appears stuck in the Foreign Affairs Committee, whose members include Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Burton, Rep. Smith, Rohrabacher, Rep. Mack, and Rep. Sires, all well-known for their obstinate stance against any legislation that would lead to more respectful and normal relations between the US and Cuba.

For readers who favor the right of US-Americans, not just Cuban-Americans, to travel to Cuba, see the LAWG website to learn how you can help.


4 thoughts on “Vote Soon to Lift Cuba Travel Ban

  • Actually, Cubans do welcome US travellers with open arms. It is quite surprising really that the people of Cuba have been able to maintain distinction between the people of the US and the US government. It seems incredible to me since the US people elect the US government… well, sorta.

  • The ultra-Right governmental stooges of the U.S. oligarchy have full veto and final say over how the country is run, politically. And for the record: the Postwar class-compromise ‘social pact’ U.S. “Welfare State” has long been finished and defunct — and it is this ‘de facto’ fact that the social-democrats, unionists, NGOs and other ‘social justice’ reformist types orbiting around the U.S. Democratic Party refuse to get. Thus the endless pathetic tilting after windmills — their ridiculous support for Wall St. stooge Obama being the most recent political obscenity coming from this foolish, foolish Left.

    Short of Revolution — or the threat of it — in the U.S., do not expect the Cuba Blockade to be lifted. The outbreak of the full-blown crisis of World Capitalism these past 2 years should have made this clear to everybody by now. Everybody not willfully blind to Reality, that is.

  • I am sure, too, that the Cuban people will wlecome the American Traveler with open arms. Allow me to explain. In the novel, “The Ugly American, a Burmese journalist writes, ” For some reason, the [American] people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They’re loud and ostentatious.”

    With open arms?

  • I am sure that the Americans will be really welcome to come visit Cuba with the northren beaches covered in oil. Yes they will be welcome to come and clean the mess up. Once this oil gets into the Gulf stream it will head out into the Atlantic through the Straits of Florida. This is the largest single man made catastrophy that the world has ever faced, and Cuba is right in it’s path. And the sad news is it is far from over.

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