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Vol. 73/No. 10      March 16, 2009

New law would cede
travel rights to president
Bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in February to adjust Washington’s policy on travel restrictions to Cuba, lifting some previous restrictions while giving the president authority to withdraw travel rights at will. They reflect the debate among the U.S. rulers about how to most effectively advance their long-term goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution.

Titled the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act,” bills S 428 in the Senate and HR 874 in the House would void regulations that control or prohibit travel to Cuba and revoke the right of the president to do so under “normal” circumstances.

Both bills, however, have explicit “exceptions” that allow the president to deny the right to travel to Cuba at will. The bills state that travel rights can be revoked whenever the president decides that Washington 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.”

Travel restrictions have been a long-standing part of Washington’s attempts to thwart Cuba’s socialist revolution. President John Kennedy first made travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens illegal in 1963 and that has been maintained ever since then except for a brief period between 1977 and 1982.

As regulations stand today, U.S. citizens and residents are barred under U.S. Treasury Department regulations from traveling to Cuba, unless they are journalists, government officials, academics, people with families in Cuba, or other specific categories. Travel restrictions were tightened for those with family in Cuba in 2004, allowing them only one visit per three-year period.

Meanwhile, debate among bourgeois politicians about how to continue Washington’s nearly 50-year-long economic war against the Cuban Revolution continues. Another bill has passed the House and is now being debated in the Senate that would allow Cuban Americans to visit Cuba once a year, as opposed to the current restriction of once every three years. President Barack Obama has said that he supports a once-per-year family visitation policy.

“We must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests,” stated Sen. Richard Lugar, Republican from Indiana, one of the sponsors of the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.”
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United defense of Cuban Revolution  
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