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Posted June 18, 2008 by publisher in Cuban American Travel

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Reuters

Cuban Americans living in the United States could travel to Cuba more often and visit a broader list of family members under legislation approved by a congressional panel on Tuesday.

A House of Representatives appropriations panel embraced the liberalized travel initiative, which faces several more legislative steps over the next few months and likely would be opposed by the Bush administration.

Under a proposal that funds several federal agencies next year including the Treasury Department, which oversees Cuba travel and trade restrictions, travelers would be able to visit close relatives in Cuba once a year, instead of the current once-every-three-years restriction.

The list of eligible family members US residents could visit in Cuba would grow from immediate relatives to include first-cousins, uncles and aunts.

“This is not a concession to the Cuban government. This is a concession to Cuban Americans who keep asking for it,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, the chairman of the appropriations panel that is advancing the legislation.

“There is no reason to place harsh restrictions on those who simply wish to visit close family members,” he added, detailing existing impediments for visiting sick relatives in Cuba.

The legislation, which could clear the House next month, also would further normalize U.S. agriculture trade with Cuba by removing an obstacle that forces Cuban importers to prepay all shipments, instead of when the commodities are delivered.

Similar travel and trade measures have been offered in Congress in the past, only to fail in the face of White House opposition.

The United States has imposed strict trade and travel restrictions on Cuba since the 1960s to punish the Communist-run island.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on June 18, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    “This is not a concession to the Cuban government. This is a concession to Cuban Americans who keep asking for it,” said Rep. Jose Serrano, the chairman of the appropriations panel that is advancing the legislation.”

    Finally. Someone with some common sense regarding US Cuba policy.

    Could be a victory for Barack. He is already in favor of this.

    I would love to see Cuba as one of the central issues of this election. McCain is same old “failed Plan A” Embargo crap.

    Let’s flood Cuba with Cuban Americans. Great start.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on June 18, 2008 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Ask USA citizens why we have an embargo against CUBA and the only answer given is their comminists????  Most USA citizens don’t even know what a communist is????  Who really has imposed these restrictions on the USA citizens not to trade or travel to CUBA???  Lets have some names, don’t just say the US goverment, who is it that really wants these sanctions and other restrictions????  As a citizens of the USA I have never been told, onlt that they are communists???  Strange that we do business with other communist countries?????


  3. Follow up post #3 added on June 18, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Old Cuban exiles is your answer.

    They tell Bush what to do. Simple as that.

    Am I wrong?



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  4. Follow up post #4 added on June 18, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    and if Bush vetoes any lightening of travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans, we’ll know (as if we dont already) who their triggerman is.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on June 18, 2008 by abh with 244 total posts

    I’m assuming this would not pass?  You never know.  It appears to me that this bill proposes that we go back to the pre-2004 changes, which were pretty ridiculous.


  6. Follow up post #6 added on June 18, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    “This is not a concession to the Cuban government. This is a concession to Cuban Americans who keep asking for it,” said Rep. Jose Serrano…” To me, this is a perfect example of the US need to “win.” They’re like schoolboys in a school yard. That quote is intended to let everybody know the US is still in charge. God forbid they should do something just because it’s the right thing to do.


  7. Follow up post #7 added on June 19, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Arteest , this has nothing to do about “schoolboys in a school yard”
    and a need to “win”. Chill out dude ! . That is too much psycho-babble. You are WAY READING too much into this. It is all about FAMILIES!!! Nothing more; nothing less
    Bernie, you don’t know what a communist is ? Where in the USA do you live??  Must be a place called the dark ages


  8. Follow up post #8 added on June 19, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    Are you kidding me?? You think this isn’t about politics in the end?


  9. Follow up post #9 added on June 19, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Not about politics in the “schoolyard” “winning” mentality you allude to. It was a huge political miscalculation by Bush The outrage and pounding he has taken on this, as the “family values” guy has been unprecedented. While a few of the radical exiles(with no family left there) are refusing to back down.most are realizing what a catastrophic decision this was. People with common sense , and main stream family values realize this is a horrific, stupid and disgraceful policy.  It was included in a bill that had many other provisions far less intrusive, and that were not as outrageous. This is a clear viloation of basic human rights. Unfortunately,GW Bush is not smart enough to ask the question, how would I feel if I was being told I could not see my own daughters for 3 years ? Incrediblly, “W” is threatening to veto any change to this policy. He is a despicable hypocrite, and if brains were money, he would have to take out a loan to buy a cup of coffee


  10. Follow up post #10 added on June 19, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Agree.

    If he does veto the bill, it could make headlines because Cuban families should be able to visit their loved ones in Cuba.

    Too bad the old exiles run the US Cuba policy and they don’t have any loved ones left in Cuba.



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  11. Follow up post #11 added on June 19, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    I get your point and I’m agreeing with the “.. buy a cup of coffee” part. grin  I will say that GW has always had a black or white approach—i.e. you’re either with us or you’re against us—and he doesn’t change his mind even when advised he is wrong. To my way of thinking, he won’t admit that he’s wrong or made a mistake, thus I think of him as a school yard bully… it’s my way or the highway. He’s made horrible mistakes.


  12. Follow up post #12 added on June 19, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll veto the bill and that may or may not make headlines in the States. I have/had American friends who wouldn’t even look at my photos from Cuba. I imagine it’ll make headlines elsewhere.


  13. Follow up post #13 added on June 20, 2008 by abh

    We’ll see if the bill passes.  If you remember, a few years ago there was a lot of momentum on this issue; i.e. every year there were more and more votes in support of ending the embargo.  Then I think it was ‘06 or 07 and it seemed like they had enough votes and at the last minute a bunch of money was distributed by some of the big anti-Cuba lobbyists including the Ileana faction, and the vote lost.  For this reason I try to have low expectations.  I think we can all hope that if Obama wins we can get back on the right track.


  14. Follow up post #14 added on June 20, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Right. If there was no Iraq war, Cuba might have been a bigger issue.



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  15. Follow up post #15 added on June 20, 2008 by edward with 65 total posts

    I agree with Bernie…

    The very word “Communist” is enough to send the US leadership into hysterical paranoia. This is the reason that the “economic blockade” has been so rigorously enforced. It has no basis in the realities of intelligent foreign policy.

    I would like clarification on the existing US policy for Cubans and americans travelling to Cuba. The right to travel should not be denied to any law abiding individual, surely the right to freely travel is a cornerstone of democracy isn’t it?, so, why have the US denied this to so many people?. Also, if this proposal gets passed, the blockade/embargo will be irrelevant as cuban americans will be spending dollars in Cuba.

    The best thing for everyone is that Mr Obamah and Mr Castro sit down and talk. Remember Northern Ireland?


  16. Follow up post #16 added on June 20, 2008 by Varsi Padayachee

    Mr. Publisher, If there was no Iraq war, Iran would be the headliner. It is all about OIL! It is in the best interests of this administration and the Miami Mafia, to keep Cuba under the radar. This allows them the opportunity to shift its anti-Cuba support via the Eastern European puppets. Given the recent corruption revelations of the Miami Anti Castro Bloc, disastrous leadership of Radio Marti, the ever increasing call by US business interests to open up access to Cuba, and the grown strength of an INDEPENDENT LATIN AMERICA, makes it extremely difficult for the USA to push its pathetic policies, with the swagger it once enjoyed. Even the European Parliament has thumbed its nose at the USA.


  17. Follow up post #17 added on June 20, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The very word “Communist” is enough to send the US leadership into hysterical “paranoia.”

    Communist is an old cold war threat.

    Muslim is the new Communism when it comes to US paranoia.



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  18. Follow up post #18 added on June 20, 2008 by abh with 244 total posts

    Varsi,
    I think you’re right.  I cannot imagine that realtions with Cuba could have been any worse under any other administration.  Bush makes Clinton look like a genius.  I really do believe that an Obama administration would definitely move us forward.  After all, is “Change” not the motto of both rational sides here?


  19. Follow up post #19 added on June 20, 2008 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    you know the old line about those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes ...
    Think the biggest “communist”  blunder was Ho Chi Minh and the “north”  vietnamese being part of this universal boogyman “the communist” .  Hopefully they’ll learn in time that muslims don’t just come in one flavor - the bad guys.


  20. Follow up post #20 added on June 28, 2008 by Max

    let’s hope things get better between USA and Cuba…. we have a lot to learn from/about that little island including educational and health care systems.
    “Cuban scientists created the first vaccine to extend lives of lung cancer patients”. ““The drug has been approved for clinical trial in the United States, but its possible use there is at least two to three years away”” (G! what about the embargo???)
    Read the article:
    http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/cuba-approves-cimavax-lung-cancer-vaccine/


  21. Follow up post #21 added on June 29, 2008 by arteest with 103 total posts

    This is from TravelAgent Central (26 June 08):

    The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has advised members that Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed into law SB 1310 which, effective July 1, significantly increases registration fees, security bonds and potential fines for firms selling trips to any nation that has been designated by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism.

    Under the new law, if an agent located anywhere in the country sells travel to a Florida resident with any one of the five designated countries as a destination, he/she must certify in advance of the sale and pay an increased registration fee ranging from $1,000 and $2,500.

    Presently, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea are the only countries designated by the State Department as terrorism sponsors. Today, ASTA noted, President Bush announced his intention to remove North Korea from the terrorism sponsor list within 45 days.

    The agent must also post a security bond ranging from $100,000 and $250,000. Agents who fail to comply could face a $10,000 fine and a third-degree felony conviction. A single transaction involving travel to Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan or North Korea can constitute a violation.

    In the past, agencies have been generally exempt from Florida’s registration requirements if they have been ARC accredited for the past three consecutive years. But under the new amendments to Florida’s Seller of Travel law, agents lose that exemption if they sell travel to at least one of the countries on the State Department’s list.

    ASTA has strongly objected to SB 1310 as an unfair restraint on citizens’ freedom to travel. ASTA also believes that it is in direct conflict with federal law. When the legislation becomes effective next week, it will restrict travel which the federal government deems as authorized and perfectly legal. ASTA had urged Governor Crist to veto SB 1310, pointing out that it violates a total of four provisions of the U.S. Constitution.


  22. Follow up post #22 added on June 29, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Doesn’t anybody in the Bush Administration think it’s odd that North Korea is being removed from the list of terrorist countries while Cuba will still be listed a terrorist country.

    Would someone please list the terrorist attacks by Cuba against the US?



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