A Democracy Restricting the Right of Americans to Travel is Wrong


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NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams ran an excellent clip last night on the “unfairness” of some Americans being allowed to travel to Cuba while others are blocked. “Relatives” of foreign nationals living in Cuba get a green light to fly from Miami to Cuba — while most others do not.
161 Members of Congress and 33 US Senators have co-sponsored a Freedom to Travel to Cuba bill that says this is wrong — and more Members are jumping on board each week.
The show last night reported that 159 House Members and 29 Senators had cosponsored the bill — but numbers have increased to the 161 in the House and 33 Senators I have reported. Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA-10) and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have shown great leadership on the travel issue in collaboration with many key Republican leaders and Democratic Party colleagues.
At a recent meeting of the National Foreign Trade Council/USA Engage — an organization populated mostly by moderate Republicans who believe in global engagement, global trade and who can see through the fallacy of unilateral sanctions which the US maintains against Cuba — Democrat House Member Jim Moran (D-VA-8) said regarding removing the Obama administration’s restrictions on American travel, “we are going to get this done. . .” He meant he and his colleagues were going to get the Cuba travel bill through Congress.
Americans can go to North Korea today.
Think about that. If the Communist, nuclear-weapons toting government headed by Kim Jong Il, to quote David Rothkopf, says you can go to North Korea, you can go.
But not Cuba.
This is ridiculous. Democracies are not generally in the business of telling their citizens where they can and can’t go, but Miami’s Castro-obsessed political machine has warped the way political gravity operates. In its zeal to try to destabilize Castro these past many decades, the Cuban-American community leadership has endorsed and engaged in behaviors completely inconsistent with democratic practice and human rights.
The Cold War was used to justify various kinds of national and personal sacrifices by Americans — but restricting human rights, restricting human travel — was something done more by our enemies in the Cold War and rarely done by democracies.
The Cold War is over. Obama needs to move more boldly and past the diminishing portion of the Cuban American exile community opposed to progress — and look to the interests and rights of ALL Americans.
— Steve Clemons


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