April 13, 2010
The Honorable Collin C. Peterson
U.S. House of Representatives
2211 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2307
Re: H.R. 874, To Allow Travel Between the United States and Cuba
Dear Congressman Peterson:
We write to express our strong support for H.R. 874, which would remove restrictions on U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba.
The United States should immediately remove travel restrictions and allow Americans to act as ambassadors of freedom and American values to Cuba. From farmers and manufacturers to human rights and religious groups, as well as a large and growing number of Cuban Americans,the American people recognize the unfairness and incongruity of restricting travel to Cuba. It is simply wrong that American citizens cannot travel freely to Cuba but are not restricted by the
United States from traveling to places like North Korea and Iran.
Current policies towards Cuba have clearly not achieved their objectives. Without the support of our allies and the larger international community, U.S. sanctions serve only to remove the positive influences that American businesses, workers, religious groups, students and tourists have in promoting U.S. values and human rights. Sanctions are also blunt instruments that generally harm the poorest people of the target country rather than that country’s leaders.
This is certainly true of the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba. The United States continues to lose influence by voluntarily isolating its citizens from Cuba. Far from providing leverage, U.S. policies threaten to make the United States virtually irrelevant to the future of the island.
We support the complete removal of all trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, and believe that Congress has a unique opportunity to take a step forward to end nearly 50 years of isolation from the Cuban people by passing H.R. 874. We urge your support for this important piece of legislation. Continuation of the status quo could leave the United States isolated from the Cuban people for another generation.
Coalition of Service Industries
Emergency Committee for American Trade
Interactive Travel Services Association
National Foreign Trade Council
National Retail Federation
Organization for International Investment
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Council for International Business