FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thurs., July 25, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA-2) and Tom Emmer (R-MN-6) will introduce legislation in both chambers of Congress to lift all restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba.
The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2019 will eliminate all restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and legal residents, as well as any transactions incident to such travel, such as banking transactions.
“The name of the bill says it all. Americans should be free to travel where they like,” said Collin Laverty, President of Cuba Educational Travel. “The overwhelming majority of Americans believe we should be able to visit Cuba and it’s time that Congress and the White House listen to them. This is about America – jobs, the right to travel and allowing our people to be ambassadors of our values.”
Travel to Cuba is currently constrained to 12 categories of “purposeful travel,” such as family visits, educational travel, or religious activities. The Trump Administration has made it even more confusing, eliminating the popular “people-to-people” travel category and banning cruise ships last month.
The impact has crushed Cuban entrepreneurs, cultural groups, community organizations, religious institutions and families on the island that greatly benefited from a loosening of restrictions under the Obama Administration.
“These lawmakers are the ones that have actually visited Cuba, met with the people and studied the bilateral relationship,” added Laverty. “They understand that getting out of the way and allowing Americans and Cubans to engage will produce more positive change in weeks and months than 60-plus years of a failed policy of sanctions.”
“I never thought I would say this, but I hope the White House will treat Cuba like North Korea and Trump will decide to go buddy-buddy and get behind this legislation.”