Bill to ease curbs on Cuba visits introduced in US Congress

Campaign News | Thursday, 1 February 2007

Measure is "stunning in its cruelty," says Congressman

WASHINGTON - Calling the policy that limits Cuban-American travel to the island as "stunning in its cruelty," Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., introduced a bill today that would lift all restrictions on family visits to Cuba.

The bill is co-sponsored by Ray LaHood, R-Ill., who like Delahunt is critical of President Bush's policy of tightening sanctions on Cuba. Two other lawmakers, Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., have offered a separate bill to lift a ban on tourist trips to the island by U.S. citizens and residents.

Bush in 2004 restricted Cuban-American visits to their relatives from once every year to once every three years. Only visits to close relatives were allowed, among other limitations. Under the Delahunt-LaHood proposal, there would be no caps on the amount of money Cuban Americans could take to their relatives on their trips to the island.

Delahunt said he had no indication from the Democratic leadership if the bill's consideration would be expedited. He supports other initiatives to lift economic restrictions on Cuba but believes his initiative was a ``stand-alone bill that both sides of the aisle can support."

Over the past two years Congress has rejected initiatives to ease Cuba sanctions but opponents of U.S. policy believe their chances are better this this year, given Democratic control of Congress.

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