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Posted May 15, 2003 by publisher in US Tourism to Cuba

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Former US Envoy to Cuba, Wayne Smith, Urges Support for Bill to End Travel Ban

WASHINGTON, May 14 /PRNewswire/—Two of Cuba’s leading human rights activists, Elizardo Sanchez and Vladimiro Roca, expressed their “full support” for legislation introduced in the United States Congress that repeals the ban on legal travel by Americans to Cuba.

The world-renowned political dissidents were contacted by the Center for International Policy (CIP) on May 12th, and authorized CIP to release their comments publicly in the United States.

“Just as we insist on the right of Cubans to travel, to leave and return to our country freely, a right now denied us,” they said, “so too do we support the right of Americans to travel freely, including travel to Cuba.”

The legislation endorsed by Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Roca was introduced today in the U.S. House by Congressmen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and William Delahunt (D-MA) with 53 House cosponsors. An identical measure introduced in the Senate last week by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Max Baucus (D-MT), now has 10 cosponsors.

“This legislation will give the Cuban people hope,” said Wayne Smith, the former chief of the U.S. Interests Section and a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy. “For the first time, it shows the determination of an American Congress to finally eliminate all barriers—in this case, to travel.”

Elizardo Sanchez is President of the Cuban Commission on National Reconciliation and Human Rights. Vladimiro Roca is President of the Cuban Social Democratic Party. Both Sanchez and Roca are former political prisoners who continue to advocate for greater political openings in Cuba.

Founded in 1975, the Center for International Policy [www.ciponline.org] is a nonprofit educational and research organization promoting a U.S. foreign policy based on international cooperation, demilitarization and respect for basic human rights. CIP strongly supports the House and Senate bills to end the travel ban on Cuba. A core part of the Center’s Cuba program, through the Freedom to Travel Project [www.cubacentral.com], is to foster constructive engagement with the Cuban people, including making it legal for Americans to travel to Cuba. SOURCE Center for International Policy

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