WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), along with Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Justin Amash (R-MI), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, legislation that would remove restrictions on traveling to Cuba for tourist purposes.
There are now ten U.S. commercial airlines with direct flights to Cuba, major U.S. cruise lines and hotels are operating in Cuba for the first time in 55 years, and American interest in traveling to Cuba is skyrocketing. Yet, Cuba is the only country in the world to which the U.S. government prohibits Americans from traveling to for tourist purposes.
H.R. 351, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would repeal sections of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 that prohibits tourist travel to Cuba and allow Americans to travel to Cuba freely.
"This is about freedom. Imposing arbitrary restrictions on Americans who wish to travel to Cuba is inconsistent with our values as a free society. An increase in American travel to Cuba is driving growth within Cuba's emerging private sector and allowing divided families to reunite, some for the very first time," said President of Engage Cuba, James Williams, a national coalition of private companies, organizations and local leaders dedicated to dismantling the embargo. "We applaud Congressmen Sanford and McGovern for their leadership in working to ensure that Americans are able to exercise their right to travel freely."
American travel to Cuba increased by 75% from 2014-2015, and more than 500,000 Americans visited Cuba last year. Of the 500,000 Americans, 300,000 were Cuban-Americans, who largely support lifting the travel ban. A recent poll from Florida International University showed that a large majority (74%) of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County support lifting the travel ban.
About Engage Cuba:
Engage Cuba is the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba. As a 501(c)(4) bipartisan non-profit whose funds are entirely dedicated to advocacy efforts, Engage Cuba is the only organization whose focus is U.S.-Cuba legislative advocacy. Engage Cuba is also committed to supporting the Cuban people and helping organizations and businesses navigate Cuban and U.S. regulations. The organization has the largest bipartisan lobbying operation working on U.S.-Cuba policy. Together with the Engage Cuba Policy Council of renowned experts, Engage Cuba provides timely updates on opportunities for U.S. business in Cuba, regulations, and market analysis. To get involved with Engage Cuba’s mission or learn more, visit: http://www.engagecuba.org.