NEW YORK TIMES: NEW GROUP ENJOYS THAW IN U.S.-CUBA RELATIONS WITH A PARTY
The American travel and trade bans against Cuba are older than the 52-year-old senator Jeff Flake – “so yesterday,” he likes to chide his younger Senate colleague Marco Rubio, who opposes ending the bans yet campaigns for president as a new-generation candidate declaring, “Yesterday is over!” Mr. Flake, a Republican from Arizona, related the story as he and several other lawmakers and American and Cuban diplomats joined Tuesday night at the packed Washington bar, Partisan – invitations added the prefix “Bi” — to celebrate Engage Cuba, a newly formed group pushing for an end to the bans. Attendees partied like it was 1959 as wine and dark rum drinks – Cuba Libre and Havana Nueva cocktails – flowed.
On Thursday June 16, 2016, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly voted to include four pro-engagement Cuba amendments in the must-pass FY 2017 appropriations bill. The amendments offered by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) would lift the travel ban to Cuba. Though the bill the amendments has not yet approved, the explicit support of the Senate is a landmark in the normalization of relation between U.S.-Cuba. Sen. Leahy has been a long time foe of the US embargo. In 1999, he took part of the US delegation that accompanied the Baltimore Orioles to Cuba.
Capitalizing on warming relations between the United States and Cuba, a Vermont-based fishing retailer has announced it will host guided fly-fishing tours of the island beginning in October. Orvis, the Manchester, Vermont outlet known nationally for its fishing supplies, apparel and other goods, has been working on making the Cuba excursions a reality for the past 18 months.
Vermont-based Orvis, the retailer known nationally for its fishing gear, apparel, and home accessories, will start hosting guided fly-fishing excursions to Cuba starting this October. "It's becoming easier and easier to travel from the U.S. to Cuba, and to experience the country in a legal and compliant way," Simon Perkins of Orvis told necn in an interview at the company’s Manchester flagship store. "There's still a right way and a wrong way to do it, legally-speaking, but I think people are becoming more comfortable with the idea that Cuba is a destination and a place they can put on their bucket list and go experience."
THE BOSTON GLOBE: VERMONT LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM HEADS TO CUBA TO PLAY BALL
A Little League team from Vermont is heading to Cuba to play ball for a week. The group is allowed to travel to Cuba as part of a special education exchange, and organizers hope the games and cultural exchanges will lead to a lasting connection between the island nation and the state, Vermont Public Radio reported. The team of 11- and 12-year-olds from Burlington, Essex, Shelburne, and Bristol was due to arrive in Havana on Sunday.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch joined President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Cuba this week, where Obama became the first president to visit the country since 1928. The president hopes his visit will nudge the communist nation to offer its people more freedoms, and perhaps allow for interaction with American businesses. Vermont's delegation met with Cuban citizens and attended a press conference with Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. "It is striking to me the sense of jubilation among the Cuban people that we meet. We have on our Congressional pins and our Cuban, American flag pins, and people are approaching us and just very excited about what a hope this means, Rep. Welch said.
A West Haven-based tennis contractor will make history in Cuba next month. Hinding Tennis, one of the largest installers and coating contractors of tennis courts in the Northeast, is going international following a recommendation from the United States Tennis Association and a Vermont tennis instructor. After President Barack Obama lifted sanctions on Cuba, Vermont tennis instructor Jake Agna's "Kids On The Ball" group was able to get approval to rebuild 10 tennis courts at the National Tennis Center in Havana.
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont also attended Monday’s opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. He played a pivotal role in the secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba, and helped with the release of the Cuban Five.
Senator Patrick Leahy says it was "a thrill" to finally see the Cuban flag raised over the country's embassy in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning. Leahy is one of the people who's been working for years to restore U.S.-Cuba relations. "I think what was probably the most emotional thing — they played the Cuban national anthem, with a Cuban flag there, and everybody cheered. Then they played the United States' national anthem, and everybody cheered," Leahy said in an interview by phone Monday.
THE HILL: ON CUBA, A BIPARTISANSHIP PATH APPEARS
In Washington it used to be that elected officials could vigorously spar in the halls of Congress, but then put partisanship aside to solve important problems or just meet together over a meal. It’s not easy to build consensus and goodwill on tough issues, but it’s what most Americans expect of their government. While there are plenty of big fights still to be had, bipartisan progress is clearly emerging on an unlikely issue: Cuba policy.
MIAMI HERALD: LEAHY, TIME TO CHANGE FROZEN-IN-TIME POLICIES ON CUBA
We are in the fifth decade – more than half a century – of our country’s embargo toward Cuba. During that time the Soviet Union has ceased to exist. Apartheid in South Africa has ended. We have re-established diplomatic relations with the communist governments of China and Vietnam. Still, the United States has refused to reexamine the political and economic embargo on Cuba. A majority of Americans, including Cuban-Americans, wants to change course. So do we.