Sunday, August 19, 2007
'Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2007' Gains Support
In his infinite folly, President George Bush has restricted the right to travel to Cuba only to those who have immediate family members in the island. Thus, if you have an aging aunt or first cousin you wish to see one last time, you're out of luck. "Con el amor, no todo se puede," love doesn't really conquer all.
Recently, Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd of Connecticut wrote an entry on Huffington Post highlighting his support of the bill.
"I want to see the peaceful transition to democracy occur on the Island of Cuba in my life time," he writes.
It is simply un-American to bar American citizens from traveling to foreign countries. In fact, Americans are currently free to travel to both Iran and North Korea, two countries which pose far more serious threats to American national security than the government of Cuba.Cosponsoring the bill were Senators Byron Dorgan D-N.D., Max Baucus D-Mont., Larry Craig R-Idaho, Patrick Leahy D-Vt., Tom Harkin D-Iowa, Chuck Hagel R-Neb., Russell Feingold D-Wis., Dianne Feinstein D-Calif., and Jeff Bingaman D-N.M.
Howling Latina recently received a google alert that our junior senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, backs the bill. Senators Dick Durbin, D-IL., Barbara Boxer, D-CA., Maria Cantwell, D-WA., Kent Conrad, D-ND., Daniel Inouye, D-HI., Tim Johnson, D-SD., Mary Landrieu, D-LA., Patty Murray, D-WA., and Bernie Sanders, I-VT., also support the measure.
By the bye, recent polls indicate that a whopping majority of Americans favor normalizing relations with Cuba; and that includes a majority of Cuban-Americans in the Miami-Dade County area.
Here's what S.721 says:
(a) Freedom of Travel for United States Citizens and Legal Residents- 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 that are set forth in subsection (b); 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.
(b) Transactions Incident to Travel- The transactions referred to in subsection (a) are--
(1) any transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Cuba, including the importation into Cuba or the United States of accompanied baggage for personal use only;
(2) any transactions ordinarily incident to travel or maintenance within Cuba, including the payment of living expenses and the acquisition of goods or services for personal use;
(3) any transactions ordinarily incident to the arrangement, promotion, or facilitation of travel to, from, or within Cuba;
(4) any transactions incident to nonscheduled air, sea, or land voyages, except that this paragraph does not authorize the carriage of articles into Cuba or the United States except accompanied baggage; and
(5) normal banking transactions incident to the activities described in the preceding provisions of this subsection, including the issuance, clearing, processing, or payment of checks, drafts, traveler's checks, credit or debit card instruments, or similar instruments.
(a) Special Circumstances- 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.
(b) Importation of Goods for Personal Consumption- Section 2 does not
authorize the importation into the United States of any goods for personal consumption acquired in Cuba.