When will the President announce the easing of Cuba travel restrictions?

Since President Obama is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard here in Massachusetts through this weekend, I don’t think we’ll have any announcement about easing Cuba travel restrictions on Americans until next week.

Congress is back after Labor Day and since many believe he will make an announcement before Congress returns.

Assuming he will not make the announcement while he is on vacation and assuming he wants to make the announcement before Congress returns then one might expect the announcement to be timed for next week. If not next week then in the days immediately following Labor Day.

Here’s the buzz about the new Cuba travel opportunities:

John McAuliff

John McAuliff writes his first article for the Huffington Post Obama Administration Facing Critical Decision on Cuba Travel Policy offering advise to the President and a great summary of what his announcement may mean for 4645.

Brookings Institute

The Brookings Institute offers their Seizing the Opportunity to Expand People to People Contacts article that talks about engaging the Cuban people and doing something positive for US Cuba relations. Specifically the Brookings Institute suggests that the President

Increase the list of items eligible for gift parcels and increase the value of those parcels.

Remove all other programs that pertain to increasing people-to-people contacts from the USAID Cuba program and make them part of a broader, invigorated federal rogram
managed by the agency.

Under this program, create a multi-disciplinary scholarship fund for Cuban students to study in the United States at the graduate level. The scholarships would be administered
through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and be offered to all Cubans. It should encourage other countries to do the same.

Extend Fulbright scholarships and grants to Cuban nationals as well as for U.S. students wishing to study in Cuba.

Establish a travel fund to facilitate academic exchanges, including those among universities, music academies, and research institutes.

Encourage U.S. NGOs to offer donations of equipment to wide-impact Cuban civil society organizations.

US Chamber of Commerce

Maria Medrano, Director of the Americas writes a motivational Get U.S.-Cuba policy right

Attorney Robert Muse

Well known Washington DC attorney Robert Muse offers the President legal cover with his The President’s Legal Authority to Enable Non-tourist Travel article.

Governor Richardson

The Governor is in Havana as I write this and he took time to give an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell with his thoughts about current and near future US Cuba relations. This is probably unrelated but for some reason Hugo Chavez visited with Fidel and Raul yesterday for five hours.

Latin America Working Group

Meanwhile, LAWG has posted a thank you letter to Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) who not only encourage the President to make these changes but went further and asked for his support on 4645.

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USAID Opposition

Interestingly enough Jose R Cardenas of USAID has the nerve to write an article for ForeignPolicy.com titled Obama’s ill-timed Cuba move . He tries to make an argument about the timing being wrong. Well, funny how the timing has been wrong for 50 years and why can’t the opposition see that this issue is about American freedom and not regime change in Cuba.

Also, why is a US government employee writing an opinion piece?

Why does he not mention that he works for USAID?

Shouldn’t he be objective and more importantly, focused on cleaning up the problems at USAID and funding for USAID programs?