Posted on Tuesday, 02.10.09
Congressional bill would end ban on travel to Cuba
BY LIZA GROSS
A bipartisan bill calling for an end to the 46-year-old ban on travel to
Cuba was introduced in Congress by a group of representatives led by
William Delahunt of Massachusetts.
The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, introduced Feb. 4 and referred to the
Foreign Relations Committee, prohibits the U.S. president from
regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. residents,
except in times of war between the two countries or of imminent danger
to public health or the safety of U.S. travelers.
During his campaign, President Barack Obama announced that he would roll
back the restrictions on travel to Cuba imposed by the Bush administration.
Under that policy, Cuban Americans can send up to $300 in cash every
three months and are allowed to visit the island once every three years,
although they can send gift packages of food, medicine and other items.
Bush also tightened the restrictions on visits by academics, students
and religious groups.
Americans with no family in Cuba generally cannot visit the island, and
the Obama announcement remained unclear as to whether the easing of
travel restrictions will apply to them.
The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would then go further than Obama's
campaign promise by explicitly empowering U.S. citizens and legal
residents to visit the island at will.
In addition to Delahunt, other sponsors of the bill include
representatives Jeff Flakes,R-Ariz.; Rosa Delauro, D-Conn.; Jo-Ann
Emerson, R-Mo.; James McGovern, D-Mass.; Jim Moran, R-Kansas; Donna
Edwards, D-Md.; Ron Paul, R-Texas; and Sam Farr, D-Calif.