ATRIP-USA*Engage Alliance Applauds House Vote on Cuba Travel

Wednesday, 22 September 2004

"The new travel regulations do nothing to punish the Castro regime, but instead make it more difficult for Cuban-Americans to support and visit their families. The provisions go so far as to define what relatives constitute as members of one's family if you are a Cuban-American citizen of the U.S." said Bill Reinsch, Co-chairman of USA*Engage. "This vote in the House confirms that we are dedicated to a more rational approach than that set out by these restrictions."

The new regulations, issued in June of this year, limit Cuban-Americans to one visit to Cuba every three years (previously a yearly trip was allowed). The regulations also fail to provide any contingency in licensing for travel related to humanitarian efforts or emergency, such as hurricane relief efforts or caring for a sick relative/attending a funeral. In addition, the regulations' definition of family eligible to be visited excludes aunts, uncles, and cousins. The Davis amendment would overturn all of these provisions.

"Businesses that rely on legitimate travel to Cuba have been devastated by these regulations. OFAC has licensed less than 50 Cuban-Americans for travel since their publishing at the beginning of the summer. So, the new prohibitions have had the effect of a virtual moratorium on legitimate travel to the island," said Jody Frisch, Executive Director of the ATRIP-USA*Engage Alliance. "Bipartisan votes in both Chambers for the past several years favoring repeal of the travel ban altogether are a sign that a more reasoned policy towards Cuba is evolving. We appreciate Congressman Davis' efforts on this issue, and thank Congressmen Flake and Delahunt for their continued leadership to restore the right of all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba."

"The member companies of the ATRIP-USA*Engage Alliance believe that democracy is nurtured in Cuba with the export of American values through increased commerce and contact that the freedom to travel provides," Frisch continued.

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