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Cuba holidays closer than ever to becoming a reality for American citizens

  • 06-Jul-10 17:05
  • Cuba
  • Holiday Industry

After the House Agriculture Committee approved House Resolution 4645, which if granted would lift the current travel ban to Cuba imposed on American citizens, there is much hope that soon Americans will be able to travel to the island without restrictions

Cuba holidays closer than ever to becoming a reality for American citizens

Cuba travel and taking Cuba holidays may soon become a reality for American citizens who up to now had been banned from travelling to the island due to a 50-year long policy that strictly prohibits Americans from entering the Caribbean nation, with the exception only of those with Cuban relatives living in the island.

And yes, during the policy's 50-year long lifespan we have heard this before, but this time it seems it could actually happen after a motion was approved, signalling the biggest step ever towards allowing Americans to visit the island and take sunny breaks in "the pearl of the Caribbean".

Last Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee approved House Resolution 4645, which would lift the travel ban to Cuba, the only country in the world to which the U.S. government prohibits visits by its citizens, whether for business or leisure.

Passing the resolution was an important first step toward bringing the bill to a vote on the House floor. It would be the first time in many years that there would be a floor vote scheduled - and a real chance to repeal the travel restrictions and once and for all see Americans freely taking Cuba holidays.

"We applaud the Agriculture Committee for recommending H.R. 4645 to the House for a full vote to finally put an end to this Cold War relic," said attorney Anjana Samant from the Centre for Constitutional Rights "Upholding open dialogue, free exchange of ideas and the human right to travel are essential to a democracy - it is time to end the hypocrisy of U.S. policy toward Cuba."

"This bill, which will put more American food on Cuba's tables, and put more American visitors on Cuba's streets, will be good for our economy and provide needed support for the Cuban people," said CDA executive director Sarah Stephens.

On the other as should have been expected - recalcitrant anti-Castro politicians and lobbyists are mobilising against the legislation and pushing forward to keep Americans from taking holidays in Cuba and injecting money into the communist Castro government.

As reported in the Congressional newspaper The Hill, Cuban-American Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-N.J.) issued a statement on Wednesday stating his intention to block the bill. As Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman, Menéndez has in the past used his influence to put the brakes on any attempt by the Obama administration to improve relations with Havana.

"I oppose and will filibuster any attempt to pass the [Peterson-Moran] bill in the Senate," said Menéndez in reaffirming his undying support for the United States' 50-year-old policy toward Cuba.

It is urgent for Menéndez - who is U.S.-born, has never been to Cuba and doesn't know the reality of the Cuban people's daily life and the positive outcome that an interaction between Cubans and Americans on Cuba holidays could bring for both nations.



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