USA*Engage Endorses House Bill to End Cuba Travel Ban

Wednesday, 14 May 2003

The House bill was introduced today with 55 original co-sponsors, which includes every member of the House Bipartisan Working Group on Cuba, an organization formed in 2002 to review current United States policy towards Cuba. The House Working Group has 50 Members, with equal representation of Democrats and Republicans.

"We commend Congressman Flake and the House Cuba Working Group for their vision and leadership. We believe the evidence is clear. Current U.S. policy towards Cuba has actually strengthened the Castro regime, producing little or no positive change in 40 years," said Don Deline, Co-Chairman of USA*Engage. "A relatively small step such as ending the travel ban could be the start of a new relationship with the Cuban people."

USA*Engage has long advocated the position that restricting travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba prevents the open exchange of American values and ideals, restricts the freedom of American citizens, hurts families on both sides of the Florida Straits, and impedes the prospects for better U.S.-Cuban relations in years to come. Most importantly, the travel ban increases the isolation of the Cuban people, which in turn, has helped the Castro regime maintain its 40-year grip on power.

"Today's legislation, with its strong bi-partisan support indicates that there is momentum within the Congress to end the travel ban," said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Co-Chairman of USA*Engage. "Increasing contact between Americans and the Cuban people does not reward Castro, it punishes him by building pressures that will ultimately lead to a free government and people in Cuba."

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at www.usaengage.org.