Leahy seeks to restore American travel to communist Cuba amid diplomatic controversy

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has introduced a bill that would end restrictions on travel for Americans wishing to visit the poverty-stricken communist state of Cuba.

The bill, called the Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2019, would end all restrictions on travel to the country for Americans and legal residents. U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Tom Emmer, R-Minn., have introduced similar legislation of their own.

United States Congress/Public domain

ON TO CUBA – Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wants Americans to be able to travel to Cuba, a communist state.

Cuba is among the poorest nations in South America. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the monthly income averages $30 per day. Only fellow communist country Venezuela ranks below Cuba in its citizens’ monthly earnings.

Leahy’s bill would officially end restrictions put into place in 1996 and 2000 that prevent American citizens from traveling to the country, in addition to ending a prohibition on travel-related and banking transactions. North Korea is the only other country in the world with such restrictions on travel for U.S. citizens.

“The Trump Administration’s policy toward Cuba is completely at odds with its policies toward other countries,” Leahy said in a statement. “It is more in line with what one might expect of a totalitarian dictatorship. Freedom to travel is a right. It is fundamental.

“It is part of who we are as Americans. We travel. We explore. We meet people. We share our values. We build relationships with people we agree with and disagree with. Americans overwhelmingly support expanding travel to Cuba. The federal government should not be telling Americans where they can or cannot travel, especially to a tiny country just 90 miles from Florida.”

In April, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced a policy to put an end to several Obama Administration policies regarding Cuba. These included new restrictions on non-family travel and a $1,000 per quarter limits on remittances sent from the U.S. to family members.

These changes also expanded the Cuba Restrict List, which prohibits any financial transactions with an entity associated with Cuba’s military, security or intelligence services. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced that Cubans who fled the communist regime of Fidel Castro will be allowed to sue Cuban companies that have used their property since they’ve fled.

According to a press release from Leahy’s office, the number of Americans visiting Cuba has dropped by half due to Trump administration policies.

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans who want to travel to Cuba are being denied that right by their own government,” Leahy said. “It is they, and Cuba’s struggling private entrepreneurs who depend on American customers, who are penalized. The restrictions that this bill would end are a failed vestige of the Cold War.”

Leahy’s statements and proposal come just a year removed from statements by the U.S. State Department that at least 26 diplomats in Cuba are experiencing health problems described in media reports as “mild traumatic brain injury.” The origins of the strange incidents are still unknown.

“On June 28, [2018] following a comprehensive medical evaluation, one U.S. diplomat working at U.S. Embassy Havana was medically-confirmed to have experienced health effects similar to those reported by other members of the U.S. Havana diplomatic community,” department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told media.

Last week, new reports confirm perplexing brain abnormalities were discovered after medical testing of the 26 affected diplomats. The incident is similar to brain injuries suffered by dozens of U.S. diplomats in China since 2016.

In his press release, Leahy states that the Cuban government is actively engaged with China as well as with Russia. He also suggests that Trump’s new restrictions are not in the best interest of the U.S. economy.

“If we don’t engage with Cuba, China and Russia will —  in fact, they already are,” Leahy said.

Leahy’s bill would not lift any current trade embargoes with Cuba.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of U.S. Army National Guard/Michelle Gonzalez and United States Congress/Public domain

30 thoughts on “Leahy seeks to restore American travel to communist Cuba amid diplomatic controversy

  1. If St Pat wants to look like he’s actually doing something…would be easier to name a post office…much more statesman-like and far less foolish…

  2. That’s great Patrick. Wonder if you would head up a delegation for your fellow travelers in Vermont to visit Cuba and then move on to Venezuela?They’re both wonderful venues.

  3. Ah, Comrade Leahy….Doesn’t Cuba host him for FREE….him and his wife? Why, yes. They do. They recognize one of their own. A total ass. That man has done NOTHING in all the years he has been in office. Shame on Vermonters who continually keep this stealer of tax payer dollars, this do-nothing except being trotted out by the Dems to be the rough tough creampuff charlatan. Representing the people? Hardly. Representing himself. He must want to be invited back by his pals, the MURDEROUS Castro boys.

    • How quickly they forget,,, Che Guevara was one of Castro’s chief murderers. One of Leahy’s folk heroes?

  4. A staggering budget deficit, an out of control immigration problem, a nationwide crumbling infrastructure problem, a failing public educational system, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all going bankrupt…………..and Senator Leahy is worried about the pressing need for American tourist dollars to prop up the communist dictatorship of Cuba. Did this bozo suffer an extreme blow to the head at some point in time? Come on Vermont……..Leahy, Sanders and Welch? Really? Really????

    • “. Did this bozo suffer an extreme blow to the head at some point in time? ”

      Could be Dave, yesterday he was fighting for mass murders to be exempt from the real punishment they deserve, death.
      He thinks it’s too inhumane to kill people that kill off a whole family. Or one that killed 5 cause he could.. But this same retard reject has no problem with infanticide… or propping
      up totalitarian dictatorships. Or lying about a human crisis on the border. Or lying to promote his criminal party of Anti Americans..

    • Actually…Bernie *did* have a ‘falling in the shower’ mishap fairly recently…walloped by Jane?…cardiac event?…stroke?…his right eye has become characteristically droopy…

      St. Pat is in decline and has been for a very long time…this latest episode of nuttiness…making an issue on behalf of travel to murderous dictatorship Cuba does seem odd…feeling left out as party platform embraces Marxism… me-too attempt at injecting Marxist street cred into the mashup…or just a babbling old guy…

  5. “The Trump Administration’s policy toward Cuba is more in line with what one might expect of a totalitarian dictatorship.” Uh…duh…that’s what the whole Trump Administration is! If Americans want to go to Cuba, they should have “freedom” to do so.

    • “one might expect of a totalitarian dictatorship.” Uh…duh…that’s what the whole Trump Administration ”

      Sorry bisquick that lie won’t fly. Tell me one Dictatorship that would allow 97% of the media to lie about it? The Jihad squad would be on the first flight back to their respected hell hole and 3/4 of the demonrats would be vacationing in Cuba @ GITMO…We’d also be rid of most of Hollyweird who’d be missing without a trace. The Russia Russia Russia hoax would have been quelled at day 1 instead of 2 1/2 years later by 12 lawyers affiliated with the criminal hag whoTrump beat couldn’t find anything to charge him with.

      • DBean, usually I wouldn’t respond to someone who uses childish name calling but I wanted to point out that the so-called “squad” are Americans; three of whom were born in this “hell-hole.” But maybe you’re right; your president seems to admit that the US is a dump.

        • Ignoring the premise again by pretending to be an adult, a preachy, condescending one at that.

          Smooth move, doggybiskit.

          • It’s difficult to offer respect to anyone who constantly indulges in condescension. About the time you earn respect, you just might get it.

            Until then I’ll “childishly” consider your preachies to be less than used doggybiskits.

          • cranky, get back to me when you’d actually like to debate points. Get back to me when you actually have one…

        • “squad” are Americans;”

          So were most TRAITORS to America, and you do respond a lot without replying to the question> you didn’t give me a dictator who allows 97% of the media to bad mouth his administration daily. If you didn’t make ridiculous accusations without proof you’ll continue to get like minded responses. Trump loves America where as the 20 clown car dem candidates crap on it daily..That’s a fact jack.

          • Sorry I forgot to address the send them back statement which actually only 3 of them qualify. Ohmar is a skinny and more intent on promoting the cult of Death and Semitic hate in our government, Tlaib is also on that train and is more worried about the Un people of the Un country palistine *fake people and fake country invented by the criminal Arafat* Cortez is obviously more worried about the southern invaders then the people of her district whom she prevented 25,000 from having a good job. Pressley I assume is the token black as she don’t say much at all. so she can stay..

          • DBean, disagreeing with the President is the definition of being American; it’s called Freedom of Speech. Why is disagreeing with him not ok but it’s ok for Trump to bad mouth just about everyone and be a blantant racist? Btw, all politicians are clowns!

    • HUH? Duh….nothing like supporting a communist, oppressive regime. I’ll bet your acute, intelligent mind thinks Che Guevera is a tequilla.

      • petemo, actually Che Guevera was a man outraged by poverty, hunger and disease. A man who desired a poverty-less world, freedom and justice. A man who was driven by morals rather than material incentives. What terrible ideas, right? smh

        • How quickly they forget,,, Che Guevara was one of Castro’s chief murderers. One of Leahy’s folk heroes?

          Redundant post for the historically blind one who just outed himself as a communist, or at least a commie sympathizer.

        • Che was about as humanistic as Pol Pot…He loved killing and living the elite life just like all communist. a couple of his ramblings: . “To execute a human being is something ugly, but [also] exemplary.”

          “I see myself … the great equalizer of individual will, proclaiming the ultimate mea culpa [apology]. I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood, the enemy’s death; I steel my body, ready to do battle, and prepare myself to be a sacred space within which the bestial howl of the triumphant proletariat can resound…” Guevara went on.

        • Starting w the gunning down of Romanov fam in 1917…Marxism has been one of the largest big-banking fam political hoaxes ever perpetrated upon mankind…100 million – and counting – have died in its name.

          It is a system that does not elevate humanity to our potential but lowers us to the lowest common denominotor…purely evil godless system in which the state is the provider is enected thru power-mad dictators aided and abetted by stooges and enforced by goon squads…or..shiny boots. The leaders are murderous thugs *all*…soo…if system is so wonderful why is it that citezenry must be forced into it under the guise of ‘workers’ who are the owners when in fact they are mere slaves to an ideology…

          And has been a spectacular failure where ever its evil has surfaced…Red China currently is busily harvesting the organs of dissidents and anyone else they can sieze…is operating concentration camps of at least a million for other dissidents earning their keep via forced labor…NKorea has a gulag system that imprisons approx 250 thousand…w handy dandy crematoriums onsite…to avoid the spectacle of mass graves flashed worldwide. As the motto says…”100 years of failure means nothing”

    • Suggest you leave our country…move to a fascist totalitarian dictatorship…Cuba or Venezuela…be really brave and try Iran, NKorea, Red China or Somalia…pls return if ya don’t find your dream-dictatorship…and kindly stfu and be grateful for our wonderful country – the envy of the world and the only one booming while Commie-controlled EU which cannot pay the bills bc they like VT have run out of other ppls money.

      • stardust, not sure how wanting Americans to be able to have freedom to travel anywhere they want means I am a facist. But fingers crossed and I’ll be in Canada next spring.

  6. “If we don’t engage with Cuba, China and Russia will — in fact, they already are,”

    So exactly where’s the dufus stooge numba 1 been since the Missile blockaid??
    Of course their already there dumbazz. Also who’s the hundred thousand Vter’s
    That need to visit the commie hell hole? More likely it’s payoff to travel agencies that payroll this partisan fool. Maybe if he hadn’t been lying about the boarder situation for so long he could have come up with a bill that actually helps America… Opps what am I thinking he’s one of the 3 Vermont stooges doing their best to destroy America..that’s who THEY are.. and he can quit with the who WE are as I’m not one of his, never was never will be. Sooner him and the other 2 disappear the better off everyone will be.

  7. I have to say in all honesty that I have no problem with this. While I would probably not choose to travel to a place where my tourist dollars would go to prop up a totalitarian communist regime, I also have no tolerance for other people telling me where I can travel and with whom I’m allowed to transact business. I do hope this passes. We’re not living in 1962 anymore.

    • Funny – I have little tolerance for Americans who travel to places such as Iran, NK, Cuba, etc., then demand the government get them out when they’re thrown in prison on some charge (real or bogus).

      Go wherever you want – but handle whatever situation you get into on your own. Bad choices have consequences.

  8. ” Babbling” Pat Leahy has introduced a bill that would end restrictions on travel for Americans
    wishing to visit the poverty-stricken communist state of Cuba………Why ??

    The only reason I can think of traveling to Cuba is to see how a ” communist state” has turned
    a once beautiful Travel Destination into a poverty-stricken nightmare !!

    Communist, Socialist ………. same out come !!

Comments are closed.