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Debate continues over lifting ban on travel to Cuba from USA

  • 22-Jul-10 10:56
  • Cuba
  • The Hill News

After the House Agriculture Committee voted in favour of lifting the ban last month on travel to Cuba for US travellers, the ongoing debate is becoming more heated as numerous organisations voice their views on the controversial 50 year-long embargo.

Debate continues over lifting ban on travel to Cuba from USA

The congressional debate concerning the ban on travel to Cuba for US travellers is heating up as the House Agriculture Committee last month voted in favour of lifting the fifty-year long embargo.

The measure still needs to get approval from the Foreign Affairs Committee before it can take to the floor for a vote but Chairman of the Committee, Howard Berman, has indicated that he is in favour of lifting the ban, which restricts US residents' travel to Cuba and the sales of US goods.

Mr Berman said: "I have long believed that the nearly fifty year old travel ban to Cuba simply has not worked to help the Cuban people in any way. It has not hurt the Castros as it was intended to do, but it has hurt U.S. citizens."

Last year, President Obama eased travel restrictions for US travellers with relatives in Cuba, allowing them to enjoy Cuba holidays and family occasions. If the ban is lifted, both countries are expected to benefit from a boost in trade and tourism numbers.

Cuba looks set to become one of the top Caribbean tourist destinations if an end is brought to the embargo and owners of Cuba hotels, tourist attractions and travel companies are already preparing for the event and the expected influx of US travellers.

However, there are still many who believe that the ban should not be lifted and believe that the freedom to travel to Cuba and trade with the island will just funnel money to the Castro regime and not actually help Cubans.

Senator, Robert Menendez, said: "I want to make it absolutely clear that I will oppose - and filibuster if need be - any effort to ease regulations that stand to enrich a regime that denies its own people basic human rights."

"The fact is the big corporate interests behind this misguided attempt to weaken the travel ban could not care less whether the Cuban people are free," Menendez continued. "They care only about opening a new market and increasing their bottom line. This is about the colour of money, not the desire for freedom."

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