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Dear Colleague Letter on Freedom to Travel to Cuba-signed by 59 Reps!

Did you hear about Jay Z and Beyonce's recent visit to Cuba to celebrate their 5 year wedding anniversary? Cuban American Republican congresspersons Ileana Ros-Lehtinin and Mario Diaz-Balart wrote to the US Treasury Department criticizing Beyonce's and Jay Z's visit and calling for an investigation of the super star couple's trip to Cuba.

Are you tired of a small minority of Cuban-American congressperons holding us all hostage when it come to US policy towards Cuba? President Obama has made some forward strides to loosen travel to Cuba but we have much further to go. Rep Sam Farr (CA) has authored a Dear Colleague letter addressed to President Obama asking the President to use his excecutive authority to grant general licenses for ALL purposeful travel to Cuba.



Support Travel to Cuba

From: The Honorable Sam Farr

Sent By: caitie.whelan@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/21/2013

Cosigners (10): Castor, Yvette Clarke, DeLauro, Farr, Hank Johnson, Lee, McGovern, Schakowsky, Serrano, Rangel

Dear Colleague:

Over the past four years, President Obama has issued a series of policy changes aimed at bringing US-Cuba relations into the 21st century. Please join me in signing this letter thanking the President for these policy changes and encouraging him to take the next step by using his executive authority to allow all categories of permissible travel to be carried out under a general license.

In 2009, President Obama announced Reaching Out to the Cuban People, a set of policy changes that fully restored the rights of Cuban-Americans to visit their families in Cuba and send them unlimited remittances. This has resulted in the reunification of hundreds of thousands of families and has provided the capital for Cubans to take advantage of economic reforms in Cuba and start their own businesses.

In 2011, President Obama took another important step by reauthorizing purposeful travel for all Americans, fostering meaningful people-to-people interaction between American and Cuban citizens. But these trips require a specific license granted to specialized travel service providers. Unfortunately, the licensing process has reportedly been expensive, slow, cumbersome, and arbitrary, causing delays and – in some cases cancellations-  of trips that enable Americans to exercise their right to purposeful travel to Cuba.

Please join me in signing this letter encouraging President Obama to resolve this problem by allowing all current categories of permissible travel, including people-to-people, to be carried out under a general license.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Caitie Whelan (Caitie.whelan@mail.house.gov) in my office.

 Sincerely,

SAM FARR                           JAN SCHAKOWSKY                      
Member of Congress              Member of Congress

YVETTE  CLARKE              ROSA DELAURO
Member of Congress              Member of Congress                   

KATHY CASTOR                 CHARLES B. RANGEL
Member of Congress              Member of Congress

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Washington, DC 20500



Dear President Obama:

We are writing on the fourth anniversary of Reaching Out to the Cuban People to thank you for instituting unlimited family travel to Cuba and eliminating restrictions on remittances by Cuban-Americans for their families. These changes have helped Cubans heal the wounds of generations and fostered the ability of untold thousands of Cubans to live more economically independent lives. Now, it is time to fully support American citizens’ purposeful travel to Cuba, and we encourage you to allow all current categories of permissible travel, including people-to-people, to be carried out under a general license.

Since the final Reaching Out to the Cuban People regulations were adopted on September 3, 2009, hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans have taken advantage of this opportunity to reunite with family every year. Moreover, as economic reforms in Cuba have opened opportunities for Cuban citizens to leave state jobs and work in small enterprises, family remittances have provided the capital for Cubans to start their own businesses. In addition, your decision in 2011 to open some categories of travel for all Americans has been an important step towards enabling civil society in both countries to become acquainted and work together in areas from science and environmental protection to religion, culture, and art.

Changes have occurred in Cuba, as well. Namely, in January of this year, Cuba rescinded restrictions on most Cubans’ foreign travel, including to the United States – a step the US and others have encouraged the island nation to do for many years. This action gives your Administration a predicate for doing more. Exercising your executive authority to allow all current categories of permissible travel, including people-to-people, to be carried out under the general license is the next logical step.   

This action would speed the processes you have already unleashed: increasing opportunities for engagement and reconciliation, while also helping Cubans create more jobs and opportunities to further expand their independence.

Thank you for your commitment to bringing our foreign policy into the 21st century and promoting diplomacy through the best resource our country has to offer: the American people.
 List of signers:

1.    Karen Bass, D-CA-37

2.    Timothy Bishop D-NY-1

3.     Capps D-CA-42

4.     Capuano D-MA-7

5.     Castor D-FL-14

6.     Yvette Clarke D-NY-9

7.     Clay D-MO-1

8.     Cleaver D-MO-5

9.     Cohen D-TN-9

10.     Conyers D-MI-13

11.     Danny Davis D-IL-7

12.     DeLauro D-CT-3

13.     Donna Edwards D-MD-4

14.     Ellison D-MN-5

15.     Eshoo D-CA-18

16.     Farr D-CA-20

17.     Fattah D-PA-2

18.     Garamendi D-CA-3

19.     Grijalva D-AZ-3

20.     Holt D-NJ-12

21.     Honda D-CA-17

22.     Huffman D-CA-2

23.     Hank Johnson D-GA-4

24.     Kaptur D-OH-9

25.     Langevin D-RI-2

26.     Lee D-CA-13

27.     John Lewis D-GA-5

28.     Carolyn Maloney D-NY-12

29.     Markey D-MA-5

30.     McCollum D-MN-4

31.     McDermott D-WA-7

32.     McGovern D-MA-2

33.     Meeks D-NY-5

34.     Michaud D-ME-2

35.     George Miller D-CA-11

36.     Moran D-VA-8

37.     Nadler D-NY-10

38.     Napolitano D-CA-32

39.     Neal D-MA-1

40.     Nolan D-MA-8

41.     Norton D-DC

42.     Pingree D-ME-1

43.     Pocan D-WI-2

44.     Polis D-CO-2

45.     David Price D-NC-4

46.     Rangel D-NY-13

47.     Rush D-IL-1

48.    Schakowsky D-IL-9

49.     Bobby Scott D-VA-3

50.     Serrano D-NY-15

51.     Slaughter D-NY-25

52.     Speier D-CA-14

53.    Bennie Thompson D-MS-2

54.     Mike Thompson D-CA-5

55.     Waters D-CA-43

56.     Watt D-NC-12

57.     Waxman D-CA-33

58.     Welch D-VT

59.     Yarmuth D-KY-


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