HR 4645-Our Best Chance for Free Travel to Cuba!

For decades we have pushed for our right to travel to Cuba, the only country in the world that the U.S. bars its citizens from visiting.  Now we have the best shot to date to bury this absurd travel ban.  Congressional representatives have unveiled a new bill, HR 4645, that would reinstate our freedom to travel to Cuba.  Introduced by Rep. Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Moran (R-KS), HR 4645 builds on the momentum of last year's widely-supported bill to end the travel ban, which netted 177 co-sponsoring representatives thanks to your advocacy.  With HR 4645, we now hope to boost that number to the 218 votes needed to make travel to Cuba a reality. 

Please call your representative today to help end the travel ban and jumpstart a more sensible chapter of U.S.-Cuba relations. Upon calling, simply ask that the representative co-sponsor HR 4645.  If your representative has already sponsored the bill, call and thank them. See below for how to contact your representative. So far, Representatives Tim Johnson, Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky are the only co-sponsors from IL. Click Read More!

Why travel? 
Two out of every three people in the U.S. oppose the anachronistic ban on travel to Cuba, including 67% of Cuban-Americans.  This vast majority recognizes the ban for what it is: a senseless Cold-War-era infringement on our right to exchange experiences and ideas with the Cuban people.  But the need to transform U.S.-Cuba policy obviously does not end with travel.  For years we have worked with Cuban partners to dismantle the cruel U.S. embargo that has restricted Cubans' access to food and medicines.  The travel ban is widely seen as the linchpin for the embargo.  If we succeed in removing this backwards ban, we move much closer to unraveling the embargo.  To get there, we need to take the first step: please call or email your representative today and ask that she or he co-sponsor HR 4645. 

 

What's in the Bill?
Click here to read the text of HR 4645.  The language on travel is similar to last year's bill: it would end the travel ban for all U.S. citizens.  HR 4645 also includes agricultural provisions to facilitate greater agricultural trade with Cuba.  These provisions place us in a better position to garner the votes to make free travel to Cuba a reality.  According to our friends at the Latin America Working Group, the agricultural portion of the bill would do two things:

1. Allow banks in Cuba to wire payments for ag purchases directly to the U.S. bank of the producer, rather than making the payment through a third country, which adds time and cost;

2. Restore the traditional definition of "cash in advance," which transfers title of the product (after payment is received) once the shipment has arrived in the Havana port, rather than while still in a U.S. port, which leaves the commodity vulnerable to being confiscated.

The Peterson-Moran bill will achieve our goal of ending the travel ban on Cuba, and create jobs here at home in the agricultural, travel, hospitality, dairy, and other industries that have been hard hit by the recession.

 

Please call Erin Armstrong at (773) 293-2964 or email her at earmstrong@crln.org once you have made your call, so she can keep track!

 

Peace,

Erin

 

If you don't know who your Members of Congress are, go to http://www.congress.org/ and type in your zip code to find out or give us a call at 773-293-2964. Below is a list of IL Members of Congress, their foreign policy staffers and their phone numbers. When you call, ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. If he or she is not available, leave a voicemail message.

Bobby Rush (D-1st) - Speak with Angelle Kwemo, 202-225-4372

Jesse Jackson (D-2nd) - Speak with Charles Dujon, 202-225-0773

Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) - Speak with Eric Lausten, 202-225-5701

Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) - Speak with Evelyn Rodriguez, 202-225-8303

Mike Quigley (D-5th) - Speak with Robyn Russell, 202-225-4061

Peter Roskam (R-6th) - Speak with Brigitta Johnson, 202-225-4561

Danny Davis (D-7th) - Speak with Caleb Gilchrist, 202-225-5006

Melissa Bean (D-8th) - Speak with Liz Jurinka, 202-225-3711

Jan Schakowsky (D-9th­) - Speak with Nina Besser, 202-225-2111

Mark Kirk (R-10th) - Speak with Jeffrey Phillips, 202-225-4835

Debbie Halvorson (D-11th) - Speak with Justin Cajindos, 202-225-3635

Jerry Costello (D-12th) - Speak with Katie Stonewater, 202-225-5661

Judy Biggert (R-13th) - Speak with Griffin Foster, 202-225-3515

Bill Foster (D-14th) - Speak with Peter Judge, 202-225-2976

Timothy Johnson (R-15th) - Speak with Jen Mascho, 202-225-2371

Donald Manzullo (R-16th) - Speak with Nien Su, 202-225-5676

Phil Hare (D-17th) ­- Speak with Kemi Jemilohun, 202-225-5905

Aaron Schock (R-18th) - Speak with Steve Shearer, 202-225-6201

John Shimkus (R-19th) - Speak with Greta Joynes, 202-225-5271