Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Obama to end all travel restrictions to Cuba for Cuban-Americans
First, Congress eased back travel restrictions to Cuba for Cuban-Americans. Now, President Obama will lift all restrictions for Cubans with family in Cuba, according to a senior administration official quoted in The Wall Street Journal (April 4).
The move, which is expected to be formally announced ahead of this month's Summit of the Americas, fulfills a campaign promise. "It's time to let Cuban-Americans see their mothers and their fathers, their sisters and their brothers. It's time to let Cuban-American money make their families less dependent on the Castro regime," Obama said during a campaign speech in Miami.
Does this mean the rest of us will soon enjoy our full constitutional right to freedom of travel?
Well, as I've written before, Obama can loosen restrictions, but power to actually rescind the restrictions on travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens resides with Congress.
Here's where you come in, dear reader.
A bipartisan bill (H.R. 874) introduced to Congress last month by Bill Delahunt (Dem, MD) and Jeff Flake (Rep, AZ) would negate current law and allow unrestricted travel by every U.S. citizen. More than 125 co-sponors have signed up to date. Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem, CA) is in favor. Remarkably, so is Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The narrow-minded right-wingers, however, are sure to put up a fight. Passage of the bill requires your support. I urge everyone to contact their Congressional representatives to support this bill. Contact the Latin American Working Group (424 C St. NE, Washington, DC 20002, 202/546-7010), which campaigns to lift the travel restrictions and U.S. embargo, monitors legislation, and can advise on how representatives have voted on Cuban-related issues.
See my blog post of February 8, 2009, for a fuller description of the bill.