US to Lift Cuba Travel Limits
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday that would end the travel ban between the US and Cuba, the first legislation to be introduced this year following US President Obama’s executive action to start opening diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“We’ve tried this current policy that we have prohibiting travel for about 50 years, and it hasn’t worked, so it’s time for something new,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, one of the sponsors of the bill, said. “It’s time to allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba,” AP reported.
The legislation, titled “The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015,” is sponsored by four Republican and four Democratic senators.
Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on December 17 they would work toward normalizing relations between their countries, more than half a century after Castro’s brother Fidel took power. Congress will need to pass legislation lifting the travel ban in order for all Americans to travel to the country located just 150 kilometers from the United States.
However, the US downplayed calls by the Cuban President for the return of the US Guantanamo naval base as part of plans to normalize US-Cuba relations.
The White House responded by saying the Guantanamo question has not been part of discussions with Cuba. A spokesman, Josh Earnest, added that both countries were far apart on numerous issues.
Cuban President Raul Castro on Wednesday warned against what he called any meddling from the US in its internal affairs.