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Posted February 16, 2009 by publisher in US Embargo

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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

On February 4, my Congressman William Delahunt introduced a bill from the House that will lift the travel restrictions on all Americans who wish to travel to Cuba. This is House Bill 874 or HR874.

The text of the bill is very short:

Mr. DELAHUNT (for himself, Mr. FLAKE, Ms. DELAURO, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MORAN of Kansas, Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland, Mr. PAUL, and Mr. FARR) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act’.

SEC. 2. TRAVEL TO CUBA.

    On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, and subject to section 3—

        (1) the President may not regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents, or any of the transactions incident to such travel; and

        (2) any regulation in effect on such date of enactment that regulates or prohibits travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents or transactions incident to such travel shall cease to have any force or effect.

SEC. 3. EXCEPTIONS.

    Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.

SEC. 4. APPLICABILITY.

    This Act applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of this Act that are in effect on such date of enactment, and to actions taken on or after such date.

SEC. 5. INAPPLICABILITY OF OTHER PROVISIONS.

    The provisions of this Act apply notwithstanding section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)) and section 910(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7210(b)).

Search Thomas.gov for HR874 but be sure to check the radio button for “Bill Number” not “Word/Phrase” so you can stay up to date on this interesting bill.

The Senate bill to lift travel restrictions introduced

S.428

Title: A bill to allow travel between the United States and Cuba

Sponsor: Sen Dorgan, Byron L. [ND] (introduced 2/12/2009)    Cosponsors (3)

Latest Major Action: 2/12/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

OFFICIAL TITLE AS INTRODUCED: A bill to allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

COSPONSORS

Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 2/12/2009
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 2/12/2009
Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] - 2/12/2009

COMMITTEE(S):

Senate Foreign Relations Referral, In Committee

Search Thomas.gov for S428 but be sure to check the radio button for “Bill Number” not “Word/Phrase” so you can stay up to date on this interesting bill.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on February 16, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    At the time of this writing, there is not much information on either bill so keep checking the search results for those bill numbers.

    It seems to me that the House and Senate have started the process to work together to coordinate their efforts to lift the travel restrictions on ALL Americans.

    The failed Plan A Embargo has not worked and is a violation of my rights as an American citizen.

    The Havana Journal supports both bills.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 17, 2009 by texasfree

    Get ready everyone, either Bill will pass soon.  Travel agencies are already preparing for direct flights from LA, NYC, Miami and potentially other major airports. 

    Just a matter of time.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on February 17, 2009 by bluemarlinon with 8 total posts

    Who want’s a little havana when we can have the big havana. let’s get ready to rumba.


  4. Follow up post #4 added on February 24, 2009 by pipefitter

    There was a bill HR188 introduced to lift the embargo on Cuba introduced Jan/09 what is happening with this one?


  5. Follow up post #5 added on February 24, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You have to go to thomas.gov and search for the bill number for updates.



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  6. Follow up post #6 added on March 03, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    and Senator Menendez who must get so much money from the old Cuban American exiles that he can’t allow ANYTHING that would allow American’s to have their freedom to travel to Cuba is on record manipulating the political process for his own gain.

    BY LESLEY CLARK | Miami Herald

    New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, who took to the Senate floor Monday night to caution President Barack Obama against signing a spending bill that would relax restrictions against Cuba, has reportedly blocked the nomination of two administration nominees.

    The Washington Post reports that the Democrat has placed a ‘‘hold’’ on confirming Obama’s choices to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The Post reported that sources who asked not to be identified ‘‘because they were not authorized to discuss the matter’’ said Menendez was not questioning the nominees’ credentials, but ‘using the holds as leverage to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba.’‘

    A spokesman for Menendez told The Miami Herald Tuesday the office ``does not comment on anonymous holds or rumors of anonymous holds.’‘

    Menendez delivered a scathing critique Monday night of a spending bill that would revise U.S.-Cuba policy by making it easier to travel to the island. He called on Obama to resist signing the bill with the Cuba provision intact.

    ‘‘If the omnibus bill is signed by the president as is,’’ Menendez said, ``he will be extending a hand while the Castro regime maintains its iron-handed fist.’‘

    He called the provision—which was tucked into the spending bill in the House—``so deeply offensive to me, and so deeply undemocratic, that it puts the omnibus appropriations package in jeopardy, in spite of all the other tremendously important funding that this bill would provide.’‘

    Florida Sen. Mel Martinez has vowed to block the provisions.

    Senate President Harry Reid told Menendez after his remarks he was ‘‘committed to working’’ with him ‘‘to resolve the injustice that is happening 90 miles off the shore of America,’’ but he didn’t say whether he’d help Menendez and Martinez strip the Cuba provision out of the spending bill.

    END

    President Obama should tell Senator Menendez to “bring it on!”

    Will President Obama bring change to Cuba policy? This is a good place to start.



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  7. Follow up post #7 added on March 03, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    Menendez, is a hater and a traitor to many lof the people who are exiles like myself. i would give anything to be able to return to MY COUNTRY!! when i want to and leave when i want to. Bob Martinez was Gov when i was younger and the state of florida was at a stand still similar to Cuba..As far as i am concerned he should be in Sierra madre sipping on a cool one.
    The idea that the language spoken by many should be taken away is ludicrous, why not speak both?
    In other countries around the world being bilingual is a good thing but here i think that because the educ system is such a failure it dis not allow teachers to learn other languages. I would guess that those who do not speak the language are about to retire or should have done so 30 yrs ago. My family most of them still live in Cuba and when this hits the fan i will go there and fight with all Cubans
    i am retired now from two careers, and have let go of the need to be top dog while passing on what i know to the the hip hop crew(ya! some of the young people have it going on).This nation is so slow but the problem is..if you are not WASP or if you do not go along to get along ..then ur voice will be shut down.

    i am an Afro Cuban born American! i travel to cuba when i need to, speak spanish in public and to whomever i want to, i refuse to be broken or bossed!
    For me there is far too much petty BS going on that stops all cubans from having basic needs..this needs to stop



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  8. Follow up post #8 added on March 03, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Spending bill with Cuba language will most likely pass

    Senate majority leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday that provisions to ease limits on trade and travel to Cuba were likely to be approved because they were attached to a larger bill that he did not want to stall.

    “I’m not wild about some of the Cuba provisions in this bill myself,” Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat, told reporters. “There are a couple of those that I don’t like very much, but it’s not enough to bring the bill down, in my opinion.”

    With Congress facing a deadline on Friday to pass the massive $410 billion bill to fund many government operations, an aide to Reid told reporters it did not appear that foes of loosening sanctions on the communist-run island had enough votes to strip the provisions.



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  9. Follow up post #9 added on March 11, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Update 3/11

    Omnibus spending bill passes in Senate with some language to ease travel restrictions but this law expires in September and technically does not change the law, just the fact the government can’t enforce the law.

    House Bill 874 is stalled with just the original 8 co-sponsors:

    Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Emerson, Jo Ann [MO-8] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] - 2/4/2009
    Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Moran, Jerry [KS-1] - 2/4/2009
    Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] - 2/4/2009

    Senate Bill 428 now has 16 co-sponsors:

    Sen Barrasso, John [WY] - 2/23/2009
    Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 3/10/2009
    Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 3/10/2009
    Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] - 3/3/2009
    Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 2/26/2009
    Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 3/6/2009
    Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 3/6/2009
    Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] - 2/25/2009

    Not bad considering the Bill was just introduced about one month ago and there are only 100 Senators total.



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  10. Follow up post #10 added on March 12, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    yes not bad..but not good enough. i will be going down with the venceramos brigade this summer again for the 5th time…. http://www.venceramos.org



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  11. Follow up post #11 added on March 12, 2009 by Paul

    One step closer to having your “right” to prop up the Castro legacy with your imperialist money.


  12. Follow up post #12 added on March 12, 2009 by grant with 48 total posts

    Is it possible that the Congress realizes that Cuba is a free and independent country with a free people?


  13. Follow up post #13 added on March 12, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    @#11 - My right as an American to travel anywhere in the world is being restricted by old Cuban Americans and that is insulting to the entire American way of life.

    @#12 -  free people? Maybe free labor but free people? Certainly not. This bill is about Americans not about Cuba, Cuban Americans, Castro or even the Cuban people.



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  14. Follow up post #14 added on March 12, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    Lets get honest. the embargo never helped anyone but Castro..verdad?
    ..OK now that we agree lets get to another truth, i am not an american..i am an afro Cuban living in america legally
    The older Cuban Americans do not want to go back to Cuba, because they love it like it is in this USA, besides they are not willing to fight for change
    .Now on the other hand., i know that like every country that has orchestrated change that it will take a concerted effort by youth and younger Cuban americans to exact that change.
    And if along the way others make an effort to help..(like a few greedy americans) then that could be a sign of another criminal enterprise. forthcoming.
    like the one Fidel and El-Che toppled..

    Let me make this clear..all of those here who bluster and yell and send one word sentences are not using the brain given by God..it will not matter how many sit here in the USA and talk about imperialist yada yada if you are too afraid to live in Cuba, ot too comfortable to relocate..
    @#12 you are right this bill is not about CUBA its about white america again seeking to exploit the Cuban people, resources and the island in general, and unless there are some real changes nothing will change..

    As i said before..and repeat here.i lived in Cuba before and after the revolution, i recieved my MD there and yes i helped the regime but at the same time i helped countless others in my former practice. i became an Atty to fight the battle for CUBANS, to returmn home not for americans to exploit my country or my people..We have had that for 40 0f the 50 yrs..all because of americans..greed and fear.

    i and my family live and travel only for the love of our isla our poeple and the hopes of all Cubans to be free..not!! for americans to return to exploit our people and resources.
    i hope to wake up one day and learn that castro is retired living in Sierra madre and enjoying his old age..



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  15. Follow up post #15 added on March 12, 2009 by pipefitter

    Milagro, well I guess we can agree that the embargo only helped Castro. Let us imagine for a moment that the U.S. had made an effort to help Cuba out after the Batista bastards were thrown out of Cuba as we now know that Cuba made efforts to align itself with the U.S. after 1959 for a few years. The sticking point was that the U.S. was not prepared to let Cuba determine it’s own form of government. Lets be clear, the U.S. was not prepared to let a soverien country determine how that country was going to advance. It was my way or the highway. This is what forced Cuba towards the soviet union and into this quagmire that it is now in. There have been many many mistakes made by the Cuban government but none that can compare with the reluctance of the U.S. to help these people when they had the chance.
    Maybee it is not too late, the U.S. now has the oportunity to extend a helping hand to Cuba and in effect raise the living standards in Cuba without having to exploit them again like in the times of Batista. Do we always have to become milionares on the backs of a people? Can we not become a just society and contribute something to the world without screwing someone as we can see in the present U.S. financial debacle?
    I am not a Cuban but have worked in Cuba for over 3 years, I can say that even though I an not Cuban I feal that a part of me still resides in that country. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Cuban people.


  16. Follow up post #16 added on March 13, 2009 by texasfree

    It is our constitutional right to travel to Cuba whenever we choose to.  There is not one law that states that it is illegal to travel to Cuba, only that we are prohibited from “trading with the enemy” aka, spending US currency there. 

    Everyone please stop waiting for the laws to change and enjoy your freedom to travel there as I have and see how simplistic it is to go and return.  If for any reason you are asked by US Customs if you were in Cuba, say yes I was and I went to deliver medicine.  You will be released and by the way, no American can be arrested by traveling to Cuba, only fined and if fined, guess what?  An actual court to hear this case does NOT exist in Washington.  Talk about rhetoric, look at American history folks and all the lies told to us and now imagine the decades old lie presented to Americans all this time.


  17. Follow up post #17 added on March 13, 2009 by Paul

    @13

    You can travel all over the world, have a great amount of personal economic and political freedom but you want the right to spend your money supporting an authoritarian Communist country. 

    Anti-Castro folks come from all generations, so tagging this is an “old Cuban” thing is incorrect. That government hurt a lot of people across different generations, which goes over most people’s heads (or they ignore it for jingoism purposes).

    I understand the desire for non Cuban, non stakeholders to travel to Cuba, but I would respect you guys more if you were as vocal about Cuba moving beyond it’s authoritarian structure, into a more inclusive and tolerant one. It seems like the attitude here is “as long as I can go there and enjoy myself, I don’t care about what the Cuban government does”.


  18. Follow up post #18 added on March 13, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    To pipefitter;

    your response is admired and respected. suffice to say that to be free is something that all humans strive for regardless of thier ethnicity and freedom was the reason for the revolution.
    As i said above **Los cubanos viejo!! really do not want to return because to make change will require too much energy, that is why all of the men and women who still struggle are much younger and have far more will..and money (props used by the US).
    However, as with others these same young people have a pie in the sky attitude of, Lets go get our property back from those who supported the revolution, and to do this we will wipe out anyone who gets in the way…

    To this end many of the so called anti castro folks are not anti castro of thier own making but rather they are like all cubans of thier ilk.. taught to struggle for our pais, simply because it is ours and because of the booty some believe is still there and which was wrongfully or rightfully taken and distributed to others who looked different..(that is another story).

    Anyone who is under 40 cannot possibly know or have lived thru the rev and can only know the story? via what has been told by those who were…

    Someone called our people you guys? duh its like you people? > here is the quote
    ***but I would respect you guys more if you were as vocal about Cuba moving beyond it’s authoritarian structure, into a more inclusive and tolerant one.?

    What the heck does that mean..you guys? i would have more respect..***
    this tells me that you have no respect but perhaps for some the goal is to get to cuba and conduct biz as usual..
    Lets be clear..tolerance is not for sale to colonizers, inclusiveness is not for sale to gangsters prostitutes, pedophile tourists of all ilks and drug dealers,  nor is an authoritarian structure to be defeated using embargos.

    like the pipefitter said here.>15 - On Thu March 12, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

    Milagros, well I guess we can agree that the embargo only helped Castro. Let us imagine for a moment that the U.S. had made an effort to help Cuba out after the Batista bastards were thrown out of Cuba as we now know that Cuba made efforts to align itself with the U.S. after 1959 for a few years. The sticking point was that the U.S. was not prepared to let Cuba determine it’s own form of government. Lets be clear, the U.S. was not prepared to let a soverien country determine how that country was going to advance. It was my way or the highway. This is what forced Cuba towards the soviet union and into this quagmire that it is now in. There have been many many mistakes made by the Cuban government but none that can compare with the reluctance of the U.S. to help these people when they had the chance.
    Maybee it is not too late, the U.S. now has the oportunity to extend a helping hand to Cuba and in effect raise the living standards in Cuba without having to exploit them again like in the times of Batista. Do we always have to become milionares on the backs of a people? Can we not become a just society and contribute something to the world without screwing someone as we can see in the present U.S. financial debacle?

    To this is say..no country is allowed its soverinty when the US gets in bed with it..that is the name of the game divide and conquer..and that is why castro, sent his army all over Afrika to help others become free. and that is why he will have my utmost respect and love..
    ..i believe that it will be ok soon..i believe that we may have a decent pres who will make a change….if allowed
    lets pray

    PS i am a woman

    Milagros Gonzales Villamil

    Now



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  19. Follow up post #19 added on March 14, 2009 by pipefitter

    Milagros, You are right about the U.S. getting into bed with a country, we all know the one that would get screwed! But it may be possible to play some footsy with the U.S. and it could be beneficial to both countries. I don’t know if you look at the news media reporting from South America but you can see there how involved the U.S. gets in deliberatly meddling in their policies. We don’t get a fraction of the news from around the world that we schould. The news media in North America is too busy reporting the movie stars dating status etc. to not be on top of the Mandoff’s and covert actions of the cia etc.
    I don’t know if you have seen these interesting documents, but they are worth looking at. (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB269/index.htm) released Jan/09  
    Lets hope Obama can do some good, but I have my doubts that he will be allowed to do so by the beaurocrats and interest groups that control government.


  20. Follow up post #20 added on March 14, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    pipefiter..(LOL nice name)

    You are right playing footsy may work and can work, but only if the guidelines are clear and precise.
    I and others do not want to see another Puerto Riclan colony..u understand?.
    We do not get enough news from other places because we really do not want to know about how others live etc..and because our media has been tricked hoodwinked and bamboozeled by those multi millionaires like Buffett, Ted turner (CNN owner) etc! to simply say what makes ther US look good?
    I get my news from BBC/Aljazeera/ and NPR if i want the truth, however we may need to ask..what is the truth?
    Again your right about Obama and possibly being deterred by right wing prediced southern gents..LOL NOT!! more like..southern scalawagas.

    About Madoff and others..the Gov had to know pipefitter there is no way that they didn’t..i have a feeling that some other heads are going to tumble soon

    http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Home/In_this_Isssue/0,2510,,00.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/?ok
    http://www.npr.org


    Peace/ paz/



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  21. Follow up post #21 added on March 14, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for all your comments but I really must insist that we stay on the topic of the Senate Bill 428.

    Visit our Cuba Forum for a more open forum for conversation.



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  22. Follow up post #22 added on March 14, 2009 by pipefitter

    OK publisher, but the real question is why is it necessary to have any bill restricting travel to any country in the world? What are they afraid of?


  23. Follow up post #23 added on March 29, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Senate legislation, S, 428, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, will be discussed in a press conference on Tuesday by U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Michael Enzi (R-WY) and representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Human Rights Watch.

    A separate House event will also take place later in the week.



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  24. Follow up post #24 added on March 29, 2009 by MILAGROS with 20 total posts

    Thanks again..we are happy to know that you also stay on top of this bill
    However, again i want Cubans especially.. to travel when we want or need to although all others are welcome. i say this because i have in my fam, many elders who shared blood for freedom and i know that for fam to be able to come/go home would be worth the efforts made in 59 The freedom to travel.
    I will be watching



    Withoutacountry..Sin pais

  25. Follow up post #25 added on May 21, 2009 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Stay updated with news and new Bills in Congress with our US Embargo timeline article.



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