USA*Engage Applauds Passage of Cuba-travel Amendment

Wednesday, 10 September 2003

"In a bipartisan voice, the House has acted in the best interests of the American people," said Bill Reinsch, Co-Chairman of USA*Engage and President of the National Foreign Trade Council. "Once again, the Members recognize that denying citizens the right to travel to Cuba benefits no one - a fundamental freedom is taken from Americans, while engagement with the Cuban people is made virtually impossible. Supporters of the Flake amendment clearly understand that United States citizens should be as free to travel to Cuba as they are to other virtually any other country in the world."

"With the Members' Senate colleagues not far behind in passing a similar provision to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba, there is no reason to alter the final Appropriations bill in a way that would skew the majority of Congress' clear intent to move toward ending this futile ban," Reinsch continued.

Allowing Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba will have dramatic and positive effects on U.S. efforts to bring freedom and democracy to the people of Cuba. By de-funding enforcement of the Cuba travel ban, the Flake amendment included in the final House Appropriations bill is an important step toward achieving that goal.

"The House of Representatives, led by Congressman Flake, has once again expressed faith in a policy of engagement with Cuba as a more viable means of promoting change than the 40-year-old failed policy of isolation," said Reinsch. "The passage of the Flake amendment for the third consecutive year is a tremendous victory and a clear indication that our elected leaders want a new policy of engagement."

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.

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