Monday, December 04, 2006

Lift US-Cuba Travel Restrictions: Dissidents, Exiles and Democrats Unite

Cubans wave flags at a military parade in Havana, December 2006. The United States should bury the hatchet with Cuba and accept overtures from its acting leader Raul Castro, who has called for talks to end more than 40 years of hostile relations, analysts say.(AFP/File/Rodrigo Arangua)

With an eye to the olive branch Raul Castro extended to the United States on Sunday (see below), Cubans on the island and off are adding to the momentum for normalization with unprecedented calls to begin lifting restrictions betwen the countries. Following up on a group of Cuban dissidents similar announcement last week, today leading Miami exile groups (including CANF and the Cuba Study Group) banded together to call for easing of the current restrictions on travel and sending of correspondence between the countries. The primary aim is the rollback of Bush Administration measures imposed in 2004.

UPDATE: Late today, it appears the Democrats are ready to move on the travel ban at least. A Bill to allow US citizens to travel to Cuba (and thus reclaim their "freedom to travel") was passed by Congress last year but got sidelined by threat of Bush veto.


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