William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI)

Cuba     June 15, 2007
Newsletter : U.S. Cuba Travel Policy

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William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI)

When The Berlin Wall Fell The World Felt Hope Again

Bulding Walls is a Cold War Tactic The Berlin Wall CollapsesMost believed that the world would once again be united by our own humanity and that the principles of democracy and freedom had prevailed.

  Hope Was Born

CubaThe hope was born that the cold separation that had kept the human family divided had crumbled like the concrete of the wall itself. For some of the world that hope for a new day became a reality, but it did not materialize for everyone.

The wall that separates the US from Cuba is actually stronger today than it has been in a decade and it is becoming stronger. Decades after the cold war was declared over US- Cuban relations are still on ice.

  It Is Time For Change

CubaThe irony is that the cold war with Cuba restricts the freedom of Americans. You see while most of the world now can visit Cuba freely Americans cannot. The wall separating the US and Cuba restricts Americans that can build human bridges between our two countries. In a cruel escalation of this cold war policy Cuban Americans that want to visit family members on the island are limited to a visit every 3 years regardless of sickness or even the death of a family member.

Eighteen years after the cold wars' end shouldn't we remove the last wall of that era and begin to build bridges? Those human bridges can be important to the economic future of Cuba and the future of the human rights struggle everywhere.

US CapitolIn the coming weeks the US Congress will debate a bill that will restore the right for Americans to travel to Cuba. It will allow Churches and ecumenical organizations to include the Cuban faithful in their worldwide missions. The bill introduced in the house will help restore communication between scholars and students in the US and the Island nation. Many Americans have called for the passage of this bill known as HR 654.

??Will you add your voice to the growing number of Americans that want to regain our constitutional right to travel freely without government inference?

  Let's Put An End To Bad Policy

If you add your voice to this cause of world wide freedom it will make a difference.

I have included a sample message that you can send to your member of congress. Please send it right away. A wall cutting off Americans from their right to speak to anyone and travel in good will remains intact. That wall suppresses freedom while pretending to protect it. Your action today will tear down that wall.

  Sample Email:

Dear Representative

Travel to Cuba has been increasingly and severely restricted by the Bush Administration. The freedom to travel is a fundamental right of Americans. We want it restored.

  • Cuban Americans are prevented from visiting their families on the island more than once every three years, with no exceptions for emergencies. Restoring the freedom to travel will unite Cuban families on both sides of the Florida Straits.

  • Educational travel to Cuba for students is highly restricted; new restrictions in 2004 essentially ended the study abroad in Cuba. Allowing travel will enable our scholars, students, and artists to share information and knowledge, which is consistent with our historic commitment to academic and cultural freedom.

  • U.S. churches and ecumenical organizations are severely limited in their ability to take church delegations to Cuba and to carry out church-to-church relations. Allowing travel supports relationship-building and fellowship, which are at the heart of the churches’ understanding of their core Christian mission.

  • People-to-people visits to Cuba have been completely eliminated by the Bush Administration. It is in the best interest of U.S. citizens and future U.S. relations with Latin America to engage with Cuba rather than continue to isolate ourselves.

We ask that you support our efforts in Congress that would end the ban on travel to Cuba for all Americans and return to the American people their fundamental right to unrestricted travel. Now more than ever, broadening contact between our two peoples is the best way to build a more constructive and coherent policy. Please cosponsor and support S 721 (Enzi) and HR 654 (Rangel-Flake), a bill “To allow travel between the United States and Cuba”

Thank You,

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Your Zip Code]

(Senators need to see your address so they know you live in their state.)

 

  Contact Your Representatives

Please contact your senators and Congress members. Below you will find the phone number and a link to the Email form for both senators in your state. Please act now. Let them know that the travel restrictions on Cuba are old and antiquated and need to be changed.

Contact Information:

Find your Senator
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Find your Representative
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml

  About WCVI

The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985. The purpose of WCVI is to: conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; To provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; To inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; To inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.

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The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985

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