Cuba – It’s not over yet but your help is urgently needed

It turns out that Trump and Rubio’s newly announced ban on travel to Cuba by independent travelers isn’t even popular among Cuban exiles. It has less than a 50% approval rating with them.

Many are opposed to it like 70 year old Eduardo Diaz who was born in Cuba and now lives in the East Little Havana neighborhood of Miami.

Wen asked why he was against it, Diaz said:

“Because I have a heart and I have a brain.”

This means a small minority of political extremists who are more loyal to ideology than the best interests of the U.S. are telling 300+ million Americans where they can and cannot go.

Does that seem right to you?

I for one am not willing to live under a dictatorship of radical extremists.

Kicking the little guy when he’s down

I’ve written elsewhere about what a disaster this ban will be on thousands of family-owned business in Cuba. Restaurants, guest houses, taxi drivers, tour guides etc. who depend on tourist money to feed their families.

You cannot imagine how difficult it is to set up a business in Cuba: Raising money in a cash-starved economy, finding and renovating a space (there are no Home Depots), getting government approval, just getting basic supplies.

The efforts of these pioneering small entrepreneurs have been nothing short of epic. Now, with the stroke of a pen, their biggest and fastest growing market segment has been cut out from under them.

The travel ban is cruel, it’s pointless, and it’s based on the lie that undermining fledgling private enterprise in Cuba will somehow make life better for the people there.

The good news

Fortunately, two Senators – one Democrat and one Republican – have joined forces to craft a bill to take this issue out of the hands of the extremists once and for all and make it a matter of law.

It’s called the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017.

It will remove travel restrictions to Cuba permanently and take this 50+ year political football away from the lunatic fringe.

The bill has 55 co-sponsors out of 100 Senators!

Unfortunately, “the Senate leadership” is blocking this principled bi-partisan bill from coming to a vote.

Here’s a comment from one of the sponsors:

“Any policy change that diminishes the ability of Americans to travel freely to Cuba is not in the best interests of the United States or the Cuban people. It is time Senate leadership finally allowed a vote on my bipartisan bill to fully lift these archaic restrictions which do not exist for travel by Americans to any other country in the world. The bill has 55 total cosponsors and I am convinced it would pass the Senate with upwards of 70 votes.”

Exercise your power

Call these good men and tell them you support their efforts and ask them to persist.

Here are the bill’s co-sponsors.

Call and let their staffs know that you appreciate their actions and ask them to persist.

Jeff Flake – Arizona

Patrick Leahy – Vermont
(202) 224-4242

Then, call your two Senators and let them know:

1) You are a voter (tell them your city or town) and

2) You support the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017

You can find your Senator’s comment lines here:

We owe it to ourselves and the people of Cuba to stand up for basic human dignity and put an end to this 55+ year travel ban once and for all.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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Chano Pozo
Cuban travel loophole found (June 17, 2017)