Dissidents Rally Behind Bill To End Cuba Travel Ban

Seventy-four Cuban dissidents and activists have urged the US Congress to pass bill lifting travel ban on the U.S. citizens to Cuba. At present, Americans need special permission to travel to Cuba and spend money there.

In an open letter addressed to the U.S. Congress, the activists supported a legislation brought by Collin Peterson, Minnesota Congressman. Yoani Sanchez, Cuba’s best known blogger, Elizardo Sanchez, the head of the country’s leading human rights group and Guillermo Farinas, a journalist-activist of international fame are signatories to the letter.

Sanchez describes general life in Cuba through her blog, ‘Generacion Y,’ using sarcastic and witty posts.

They said the ban plays into the designs of Havana’s “most inflexible interests.” The letter also called for expanding U.S. food exports to Cuba.

The bill must first clear the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture before it can be presented in the full House for vote. This is not the first bill of its type in recent past. Earlier attempts have failed to pass the committee stage, never reaching the Senate or the House. However, this is the first time so many dissidents are supporting a single piece of legislation.

The Cuban government didn’t comment on the development. Traditionally, it describes dissidents as paid agents of Washington.

The U.S. has imposed wide-ranging embargo on Cuba since 1960, barring all trades between the two countries. Further, U.S. law prohibits its citizens from spending money in Cuba. Politicians, journalists and Cuban-Americans require special permission to travel to Cuba.

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