House Agriculture Committee to Consider Decisive Change in U.S.-Cuba Policy

Jun 25, 2010, 16:43 ET from The Center for Democracy in the Americas

WASHINGTON, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In reaction to the announcement by the House Agriculture Committee that it will meet to mark-up legislation to end the ban on travel by Americans to Cuba and to remove key impediments to U.S. agriculture exports to the island, key experts on Cuba policy issued the following statements:

"This is the moment for making a decisive change in Cuba policy; a change that will put money in the pockets of American farmers and workers, put better food on Cuban tables, and put more Americans on Cuban streets and in Cuban homes.  A policy that ends the travel ban and sells more food to Cuba puts our country on the side of the Cuban people, and we applaud the Committee for scheduling the legislation," said Sarah Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

"It's time for a decisive change in Cuba policy.  U.S. citizens want their right to travel restored. Rather than waiting another fifty years for Cuba to change, sending American food and tourists to Cuba will make life better for the Cuban people now. We support Chairman Peterson in moving ahead with a vote in the Agriculture Committee on this legislation," said Mavis Anderson of the Latin America Working Group.

"Moving to end the travel ban and to sell more food to Cuba is not only good for Americans and Cubans, but also critical for restoring relevance to U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.  Engaging the Cuban people, as this effort would do, will enhance the U.S. image and our effectiveness in the region. This is welcome news to those who think it is long past time to change our outmoded approach to Cuba," said Anya Landau French of the New America Foundation.

"The Peterson-Moran bill takes U.S. Cuba policy in a sensible direction.  It moves away from the unilateral sanctions we've imposed for fifty years, and expands travel, communication and dialogue, while opening up sales opportunities for U.S. businesses.   We're pleased that Chairman Peterson is moving the bill toward a vote," said Geoff Thale of the Washington Office on Latin America.

The Committee has scheduled a mark-up of H.R. 4645, introduced by Chairman Collin Peterson with support from 62 cosponsors, for June 30, 2010.  

For more information: Center for Democracy in the Americas; Latin America Working Group; New America Foundation; Washington Office on Latin America

SOURCE The Center for Democracy in the Americas