As I've written before, momentum is building in Washington to rescind the ban on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens. On Monday, the White House fulfilled a campaign promise to lift all restrictions for Cuban-American travel. Tremendous, and long overdue. See my comments on ABC News Channel 3  in response.
And you can listen in to my live interview on KGO Newstalk with Travels with John Hamilton , Saturday, April 18.
The White House statement also announced that U.S. telecommunications companies will be allowed to operate in Cuba, and that Cuba will henceforth have access to a broad band fiber optic cable. I might soon be able to use my BlackBerry in Cuba.
Meanwhile, President Obama has so far said nothing about the rights of all other U.S. citizens. And the language used in last Monday's announcement maintained the same old counterproductive and provocative tone. Clearly the administration is still concerned to pander to anti-engagement hardliners rather than the two-thirds of U.S. voters who recently said they favor lifting all travel restrictions.
Hopefully he'll come clean at this Friday's Summit of the Americas, in Trinidad, where leaders from throughout the continent are expected to pressure Obama to lift the embargo entirely.
The good news is that last week the adamantly anti-Castroite Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), also came out in favor of engaging with Cuba.
And a bipartisan bill (H.R. 874) to end ALL travel restrictions currently in Congress requires YOUR support. Here's what you can do to get this bill passed...
1. Communicate your message directly to the White House  through the phone-in line 202-456-1111. Here's what you might say:
I congratulate the President for the courage and human decency of restoring to Cuban Americans the precious ability to visit and send financial support to their families.
I urge the President to announce that he will support and sign legislation to restore the fundamental human right of travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens, without discrimination based on national origin. All Americans should have the opportunity to go to Cuba for educational, religious, humanitarian, cultural, and recreational purposes, connecting people to people.
2. Contact your Congressional representatives to support this bill. You can do so easily via the website of the Latin American Working Group  (424 C St. NE, Washington, DC 20002, 202/546-7010).
See my blog post of February 8, 2009,  for a fuller description of the bill.