House Panel Discusses Bill To Lift Cuban Travel Ban, Ease Embargo

Havana, Cuba.
Havana, Cuba.
Havana, Cuba.
Havana, Cuba.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Human rights and business groups asked Congress Thursday to relax the embargo against Cuba by passing a bipartisan bill that would allow for travel to the island nation as well as remove some hindrances to legal farm sales.

The election of President Barack Obama brought hope to some that relations between Cuba and United States would improve. Since taking office, the Obama administration has lifted restrictions limiting family travel and remittances to Cuba enacted by the George W. Bush administration, and has also taken steps to improve telecommunications links.

U.S.-Cuban relations have been largely stuck in neutral since December of last year, when the Cuban government detained an American man who they allege was helping opposition groups.

“Lifting these travel and trade restrictions is about what is best for the United States,” said Representative John Tanner, chairman of a trade subcommittee in the House of Representatives Ways and Means, according to The Washington Post.

The U.S. trade embargo went into effect in 1963 and was twice strengthened during the 1990s. Many throughout the Western Hemisphere see the embargo as relic of the Cold War, when Cuba was tightly aligned with the Soviet Union.

During a summit of the 32 leaders of Latin America in February, the delegates called for an end to embargo.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • More survivors emerged after an ambush of a humanitarian aid convoy in southern Mexico on Tuesday that killed two people, but two journalists still remain missing.
  • Authorities in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico said that 47 people have been killed in the past three days in the border city.

Caribbean

  • The House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow Puerto Rico to vote on whether to change its 112-year relationship with the U.S., including allowing for a transition to statehood or independence. The legislation is supported by Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño.
  • Dania Virgen García, an independent journalist with ties to the Cuba’s Ladies in White protest group, was sentenced to 20 months in prison under charges of mistreating her child, according to a Cuban human rights worker.
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Eric P. Schwartz announced in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday that the Department of State contribute an additional $10.5 million to support the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Central America

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: Ilkerender @ Flickr.

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2 comments

  1. When pressured to ask for a world-wide boycott of Chinese exports, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama vehemently refused as he saw that economic measure as one which would create further suffering for the Chinese people.

    We should consider as well the suffering which we have helped create for the Cuban people with this anachronistic economic weapon. Besides, by lifting the embargo, the Cuban dictators would have to stop bellyaching and whining about how everything is the fault of the evil US Empire and come face to face with their own ineptitude.

    VIVA CUBA LIBRE!

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