Cuba Politics

House drops debate on Cuba travel ban

Posted September 16, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.


A measure that would end the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba was dropped on Wednesday by its chief House of Representatives sponsor, who said he could not get “meaningful debate” in an election year on legislation that has attracted bipartisan support for several years.

The House instead will debate next week a narrower measure, focusing on new restrictions the Bush administration recently imposed. Cuba policy is extremely sensitive in Florida, a key swing state in the presidential race where Cuban-Americans form a crucial voting bloc.

Both the House and the Senate in the past have backed altering the trade embargo to allow legal travel to Cuba. But the measure always has been stripped from final versions of bills and never been signed into law.

Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, withdrew his measure, saying “with elections so close and politics so raw, this debate would not receive the thoughtful deliberation it deserves.”

The amendment, which was passed in the House for the last four years, was part of a broader Transportation and Treasury Department spending bill. A Senate panel has included language lifting the Cuba travel ban on its version of the bill.

Flake called the travel ban a Cold War anachronism that has clearly not toppled Fidel Castro, who came to power in 1959. He said that limiting U.S. citizens’ own freedom to travel was not the answer.

“Unfortunately, neither party can see past Florida when trying to decide what to do about Cuba,” he said.

The Bush administration earlier this year imposed additional restrictions, limiting how often Cuban-Americans can visit relatives on the island or what supplies they can send them. Those moves have angered some Cuban-Americans, a bloc that overwhelmingly voted Republican in 2000.

Florida Democrat Rep. Jim Davis plans to introduce an amendment next week, with Flake’s support, that will roll back the new restrictions that allow Cubans residing in the United States to visit Cuba only once every three years.

Another Davis resolution was approved in July. It sought to block new restrictions on Cuban-Americans’ ability to mail supplies such as clothing or soap to relatives still in Cuba.

Member Comments

On September 19, 2004, jorge leon wrote:

restricting travel to cubans residing in usa it is very cruel. inhumanity at it,s best

On September 19, 2004, jorge leon wrote:

restricting travel to cubans residing in usa it is very cruel. inhumanity at it,s best

On September 19, 2004, Ralph wrote:

I strongly believe,that some people in the inner circle of
Bush administration are dulls or just idiots,because banning
cubans legal resident or citizen in The States to travel at
least once a year to visit their family,friends or simply their
land more than irrespectful,is notorious goofed and criminal—
one.Facing the future,the cuban community in Usa,in Florida
in particular,is changing and by the day the majority have—
relatives in Cuba and we are latin and caribbean people and
thaT means the vast majority of us keep on as a top priority
our families and roots,so it is not worth banning the cubans,
or any other minority to visit,once a year,our homeland.I know
there is an older group of cubanamericans some of them well
known for their attachemnt to the former Batista Regime and other who simply have not inmediate relatives or not relatives
at all in Cuba,and for them the bar is nothing,but for many the
ban is a very real big problem and Bush should have taken that
into account,it seems to me,God Willing,in one way or another
this ban will blow away as a dreg sooner than later,because is
simply a bad mark in the american policy towards Cuba.