Truth about the travel ban
Truth about the travel ban - Other Views - MiamiHerald.com
By Mauricio Claver-Carone
US-Cuba Democracy Pac
Every day there seems to be a new effort to lift U.S. sanctions toward Cuba, in particular the ``travel ban.'' The latest is a bill by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson, of Minnesota, and U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, of Kansas, supposedly aimed at increasing agricultural sales to the Castro regime. But its most dramatic provision would end the ``travel ban.''
Tragically, the Peterson-Moran bill was introduced on the same day that 42-year-old Cuban pro-democracy leader and Amnesty International ``prisoner of conscience'' Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after an almost three-months'-long hunger strike protesting the brutal beatings, abuses and prison conditions he endured.
While supporters of loosening the travel ban make bold predictions and philosophical arguments, few stick to the facts. Consider:
• There is no ban on travel to Cuba -- only a ban on taking an exotic vacation there. The Department of Treasury's responsibility, under the trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA), is to prohibit or regulate commercial ``transactions'' related to travel, not travel per se.
Travel to Cuba is authorized for a variety of reasons, ranging from academic, religious and family visits to visits in support of civil society. Tens of thousands of Americans legally travel to Cuba for these purposes every year.
• Tourism is the main source of income for the Castro regime. Cuba's tourism industry is operated and owned by the Cuban military, the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR).