Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bill would lift travel restrictions to Cuba

After forty six years of heavily restricted travel to one of our nearest neighbors, the United States might finally be getting closer to lifting travel restrictions to Cuba, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 4 would allow American citizens unrestricted travel to Cuba for the first time since 1963. The bill by Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., and eight co-sponsors would also lift limits on travel by Cuban exiles living in the United States. The president would not be able to regulate travel to the island unless an armed conflict or armed danger arises.
Getting rid of travel restrictions to Cuba would be welcome.

But what about our trade embargo?

Over the last seventeen years, the United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly approved resolutions calling for the end of trade embargoes on Cuba. A resolution last year was adopted by a vote of 185-3, with only two nations abstaining.

The Cuban trade embargo is a pointless relic of the Cold War. It hasn't accomplished anything other than keeping Americans and American goods out of Cuba, and vice versa. What is the point of continuing the embargo? Because we don't want to trade with a nation ruled by a Communist oligarchy?

We already do - China is one of our biggest trading partners. And increasingly, we are doing more business with Vietnam.

The embargo hasn't brought about any positive change in Cuba and it isn't about to. It's a failed policy that needs to be repealed. The United States should extend a helping hand to Cuba, not strangle it by banning trade and travel.

Ending the embargo is also a chance for Congress to show that it too is willing to admit the mistakes of the past and change course.

After we ditch the embargo, the next should be normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba. By reopening dialogue with our Caribbean neighbor, we can extend a hand of friendship and work to build a better future together.


Blogger Mirta said...

Lifting the embargo and lifting travel restrictions are two distinct things. Please get the facts straight.

February 13, 2009 6:08 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Exactly. The trade embargo needs to be lifted as well. Lifting the travel restrictions is just the first step in doing that.

February 14, 2009 10:13 AM  

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