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116 Groups Sign Letter to Congress on Travel to Cuba

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Dear Member of Congress:

As representatives of religious organizations, non-governmental organizations, policy groups, farm groups and businesses, we support the right of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba free of restrictions. We write to express our support for the House and Senate bills to lift all restrictions on travel to Cuba (H.R.2071 and S.950), as well as any amendment to the Transportation/Treasury Appropriations bill that would end funding for enforcement of travel restrictions. We also support Senator Byron Dorgan’s amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would grant a general license for trips to Cuba for any travel associated with U.S. agriculture and medical sales to Cuba. We strongly urge you to vote in favor of any amendment that would ease restrictions on travel to Cuba and to co-sponsor H.R.2071.

 

Restricting U.S. travel to Cuba hurts U.S. citizens and the people of Cuba. It denies Americans their freedom to travel and limits the cultural and social benefits that come from unhindered interaction between our peoples. Recent changes to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) regulations on the embargo eliminated the category of people-to-people travel to Cuba, one of the most beneficial forms of educational travel to Cuba for the people of both countries. This is a serious blow to efforts to increase communication, understanding and exchange between the people of Cuba and the United States. In addition, this policy is inconsistent with U.S. policy on citizen travel to other countries, including the communist nations of North Korea, China and Vietnam.

The burdensome process of licensing for travel associated with U.S. agricultural and medical sales to Cuba creates unnecessary roadblocks to legal sales of U.S. goods to Cuba. Increased travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens would also increase the demand for U.S. agricultural products in Cuba, which would help U.S. farmers.

The House and Senate travel bills and amendments in both chambers to ease Cuba travel restrictions seek to address these problems with U.S. policy on travel to Cuba. Numerous polls show that the majority of Americans and the majority of Cuban-Americans support an end to restrictions on Cuba travel. Please uphold the will of U.S. citizens by supporting any amendments to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba; helping to ensure that such amendments remain in the final Appropriations bills passed; and co-sponsoring and voting for H.R.2071.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Cuban-American Groups 
Business and Trade Organizations
Churches and Religious Organizations 
Human Rights and International Relations Organizations

 

CUBAN-AMERICAN GROUPS

Delvis Fernández Levy
President
Cuban American Alliance Education Fund

Silvia Wilhelm
Executive and Founder
Puentes Cubanos

Eloy Gutiérrez-Menoyo
Founder and President
Cambio Cubano

Roberto Carballo, President
Alfredo Duran, Secretary
Marlene Arzola, Outreach Coordinator
Cuban Committee for Democracy

Alejandro Portes
Professor of Sociology
Director of the Center for Migration and Development
Princeton University*

Julio V. Ruíz, MD
Cuban American Geriatric Foundation

J. I. Fernández
President and Founder
Hope for Cuba Foundation

Elena R. Freyre
Executive Director
Cuban American Defense League

Dr. Alberto N. Jones
President
Caribbean American Children Foundation

Antonio Zamora
The Time is Now Coalition

José A. González Guardado
Partner
ConnectCuba, LLC

Jorge Milanes
President
West Coast Cuban American Alliance

María Luísa Gastón
Program Director
Latina Resource Center/Catholic Charities
Omaha, Nebraska

Joseph Soileau
United States Navy, retired*

Bertram Stiller
MediCuba

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BUSINESSES AND TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

William A. Reinsch
President
National Foreign Trade Council

Robert W. Haines
Chairman
USA*Engage

A. J. Reixach
Executive Port Director
Port Freeport (Texas)

America Farm Bureau Federation

Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba

United Egg Producers

USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

National Association of Wheat Growers

Barbara Spangler
Executive Director
Wheat Export Trade Education Committee

William Roenigk
Senior Vice President
National Chicken Council

Brent Gibadlo
President
Association of Travel-Related Industry Professionals (ATRIP)

Robert Guild
Program Director
Marazul Charters

Gloria Vilaret Gonzalez
President
Caribbean Travel Services, Inc.

Michael Sykes
President
Cuba Cultural Travel

Merriam Ansara
Director
Common Ground Education & Travel Services

Sean Greene
Chief Executive Officer
The Away Network (web-based travel business)

Cynthia Thomas
President
TriDimension Strategies, LLC.
Dallas, Texas

Jeffrey A. Ensminger
Chief Executive Officer
Bahama-Meridian ITL

Arlene Alligood
President
CaribExports

Kirby Jones
President
Alamar Associates and U.S.-Cuba Trade Association

Gregory T. Absten
President
Professional Medical Education Assn., Inc.

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CHURCH AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS

Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar
General Secretary
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Brenda Girton-Mitchell
Washington Director
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Rev. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA

Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory
Director, Washington Office
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Jaydee Hanson
Assistant General Secretary
Public Witness and Advocacy
General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Church

Mark B. Brown
Assistant Director for International Affairs and Human Rights
Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Dr. David Engelhard, General Secretary
Dr. Peter Borgdorff, Executive Director of Ministries,
Christian Reformed Church

Rev. John Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Stan Hastey
Executive Director
Alliance of Baptists

Dr. Charlie Clements
President
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Rev. Ruth Chavez Wallace
Program Associate, Latin America and the Caribbean
United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

Phil Jones
Coordinator
Church of the Brethren, Washington Office

Brian Hinman
Washington Representative
Church World Service

Esther Pineda, CSJ
Acting National Coordinator
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

J. Daryl Byler
Director, Washington Office
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Rev. Jerrye G. Champion
National Board President
Church Women United

Marie Dennis
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Edward W. Stowe, III
Legislative Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Krisanne Vaillancourt
Executive Director
Witness for Peace

Kathy Ogle
Co-Coordinator
EPICA (Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean)

Linda Mashburn
Executive Director
Sister Parish, Inc.

Stan De Boe, OSST
Director, Office of Justice and Peace
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Margaret Swedish
Director
Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico

Rev. Séamus P. Finn
Director, Justice and Peace Office
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Sister Marie Lucey, OSF
Associate Director for Social Mission
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Donna Graham, OSF
Director, Justice and Peace Office
Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province

Gary L. Cozette
Director
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America

Dale Sorensen
Director
Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas (California)

Gail S. Phares
Director
Carolina Interfaith Task Force on Central America

Rev. Heather M. Robertson
Pastor
First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ
Ocala, Florida

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HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS GROUPS

Joy Olson
Executive Director
Washington Office on Latin America

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

Wayne Smith, Senior Fellow
Anya Landau, Associate
Center for International Policy

Sarah Stephens
Director, Freedom to Travel Project
Center for International Policy

Sandra Levinson
President
Center for Cuban Studies, Inc.

Bruce D. Nestor, President
Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director
National Lawyers Guild

John McAuliff
Executive Director
Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Bob Schwartz
Executive Director
Disarm Education Fund

Nancy Chang
Attorney
Center for Constitutional Rights

Debra Preusch
Executive Director
Interhemispheric Resource Center

Dr. Peter Bourne
Chairman of the Board
American Association for World Health

Dr. Terry Gibbs
Director
North American Congress on Latin America

David C. Jehnsen
Chair
Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities

Jeffrey Boutwell, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs*

Dr. Orval J. Gingerich
Associate Dean for International Programs
Center for Global Education at Augsburg College

Tom Miller, General Counsel
Ana Perez, Cuba Program Director
Carlos A. Prendes, Cuba Travel Coordinator
Global Exchange

Albert A. Fox, Jr.
President
Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy

Kathleen G. Hower
Executive Director
Global Links

Stephen Hellinger
President
The Development GAP

Laura M. Furst
National Organizer
Committee for Inter-American Human Rights

Sandy Silver and Darien De Lu
Co-Presidents
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United States Section

Mark Rasenick
President
Interamerican Consortium on Basic and Clinical Neuroscience*

Jeremy Landau
Director
AIDS Treatment Access – Cuba

Tom Miller
President
Fair Trade with Cuba

Cindy Domingo and Jan Strout
Co-Chairs
US Women and Cuba Collaboration Project

Marion Hunt-Badiner
Trustee
Roy A. Hunt Foundation

Atty. Micabil Díaz-Martínez
Chairperson
Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section, State Bar of Wisconsin

Christopher P. Baker
Author
National Geographic Traveler Cuba
Moon Handbooks' Cuba
Moon Handbooks' Havana

Netfa Freeman
Public Relations
No War on Cuba Movement

Buffy Donlon
President
AlaCaribe Initiative, Inc.
Mobile, Alabama

Ricardo González
President
Madison-Camaguey Sister City Association
Madison, Wisconsin

Raúl Galván
Milwaukee-Nuevitas Association
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Robert M. Schaefer
President
Society Mobile-La Habana
Mobile, Alabama

Art Heitzer
Spokesperson
Milwaukee Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba

Jeanne Parr Lemkau, PhD, MFA
Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health
Wright State University School of Medicine*

Barbara Moser Schaible
Lawrence-El Papaturro Friendship Committee
Lawrence, Kansas

Thomas W. Warner
Secretary
Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee

Frank Pratka
President
Baltimore-Matanzas Sister City Association

Nancy Abbey
Chair
Cuba Study Group of Santa Cruz County (California)
Ellen Farmer
Chair
Alliance of Santa Cruz County and Guama Municipio, Cuba
(an affiliate of US/Cuba Sister Cities)

Robert W. Augelli, Ph.D.
Director
Rosa Blanca Project (Kansas)

B. Kwaku Duren, Esq.
Chairperson
New Panther Vanguard Movement

John J. Young
Director
Conchord Cayo Hueso, Inc.
Key West, Florida

Arnold Kaufman
Treasurer.
Peace Action – Wisconsin

Ardenne Bunde
State Secretary
Socialist Party, Wisconsin

Art Marburg
Organizer
A Job is a Right Campaign
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

*Organization listed for identification purposes only