Congress becoming Cuba friendly?


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 16:51:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Global Exchange - Cuba Update <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A Critical Moment for New Cuba Policy

Cuba Update


Dear Global Exchange Cuba Supporter,

As you may have heard there is new movement within Congress to change policy 
toward Cuba. While we have struggled for change over the years we believe there 
is a real possibility for results this year.

On January 24, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced 
HR 654 , with the following original co-sponsors: McGovern (D-MA), Emerson 
(R-MO), Delahunt (D-MA), Ramstad (R-MN), Snyder (D-AR), Moran (R-KS). This bill 
allows the freedom of travel between the United States and Cuba; it ends all 
restrictions on travel to Cuba. You may view the full text of the bill at the 
Library of Congress 
. From the homepage, type HR 654 in the "Search Bill Text" and check the "Bill 
Number" circle.

Congressman Charlie Rangel, the principle sponsor of this bill, is the "man of 
the hour." He is the new chair of the Ways and Means Committee, and he is our 
ally in changing Cuba policy. The fact that this bill has been submitted by him,
along with Rep. Flake (who has been working for years to end the travel ban), is
very significant. We have the momentum; key Democrats who are supportive of a 
change in policy have control of the committee process; this is our moment.

Take Action Now!

In order to "create a buzz" about this bill and demonstrate the strength of 
congressional support to end the travel ban, we need to get as many cosponsors 
as possible in as short a time period as possible. That's where your help is 

Please call your member of Congress today or tomorrow to ask them to cosponsor 
HR 654 to restore the fundamental right of all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. 
You may reach your member of Congress by calling the Capitol switchboard at 
202.224.3121 and asking to be transferred to your congressperson's office. Or 
you may go to 
to find that information.

To sign on to the bill, Democratic members should call Vivian Catalino in Rep. 
Rangel's office; Republican members should call Lance Walker in Rep. Flake's 

Our goal is to achieve 100 cosponsors in one month. Here are the benchmarks:

By February 9: 35 cosponsors
By February 16: 60 cosponsors
By February 23: 80 cosponsors
By March 1: 100 cosponsors

Even members of Congress who you know to be supportive of travel to Cuba should 
be called to be sure they sign on as cosponsors. A nudge from constituents may 
be the only way to bring this bill to the attention of

each member. We can take no one for granted. If your member of Congress is among
the original co-sponsors listed above, please call and say "thank you."

Please let us know what action you take, and the response you get. You can 
<mailto:•••@••.•••>email the Latin American Working Group or call them at 
202.546.7010. They will keep track of the new sponsors to be sure the list 
matches what you have told us. We'll keep you appraised of the progress made 
toward the goal of 100 cosponsors and of members who still need to be contacted.

Other Cuba Bills:

A number of other bills related to U.S.-Cuba policy have also been introduced. 
While we would support the passage of each of the following bills, our immediate
attention should be on HR 654, whose passage would

cover both Cuban-American family travel and educational travel and is the bill 
where we anticipate the action to be focused.

HR 757, introduced January 31 by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Rep. Ray LaHood 
(R-IL), with seven additional cosponsors. To allow United States nationals and 
permanent residents to visit family members in Cuba, and for other purposes. 
[This is a bill we will energetically support when it sees floor action; we 
continue to believe that immediate work should be done on HR 654, which would 
enact all the provisions of this bill also.]

HR 624, introduced January 22 by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-MA) and Rep. Barbara Lee
(D-CA). To lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

HR 217, introduced January 4 by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). To lift the trade 
embargo on Cuba.

HR 216, introduced January 4 by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). To waive certain 
prohibitions with respect to nationals of Cuba coming to the United States to 
play organized professional baseball.

HR 177, introduced January 4 by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), with three cosponsors 
To provide that no funds made available to the Department of the Treasury may be
used to implement, administer, or enforce regulations to require specific 
licenses for travel-related transactions directly related to educational 
activities in Cuba.

And one negative bill that we obviously do not support:

HR 525, introduced January 17 by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), with four cosponsors. 
To amend the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 
[Helms-Burton law] to require that, in order to determine that a democratically 
elected government in Cuba exists, the government extradite to the United States
convicted felon William Morales and all other individuals who are living in Cuba
in order to escape prosecution or confinement for criminal offenses committed in
the United States.

That's all for now. Please make your calls!

Thank you,

The Cuba Team at GX

Global Exchange is an international human rights group that relies on its 
members - tens of thousands of people like you - to work with us to create 
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