If the laws governing travel to the island can not be changed, how is it that they were amended in June 2004?
by Carlos Lazo
Several years ago I posted an on-line petition calling for freedom to travel to Cuba. One signer, Carlos Lazo, wrote me that he was a Cuban living now in the US and frustrated by the difficulty of returning to see his teenage sons. Ironically, he was a member of the National Guard due to serve in Iraq. Under restrictions introduced by the Bush Administration in 2004, Carlos was blocked at the last minute from visiting the boys during leave from the combat zone. His case dramatized for the media the inhumanity of a policy that limited family reunions to once every three years and was taken up by Senator Byron Dorgan and other members of Congress. Carlos just sent me this take on the debate over the prospective relaxation of travel restrictions by President Obama.
In recent days,four Cuban-American Representatives and one Senator wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him not to change U.S. policies toward Cuba. According to the odd logic put forward by these people, laws regarding the island are and were created already by the U.S. Congress. Therefore, any change in this regard would undermine "significantly the foreign policy objectives and security of America." In the epistle, the legislators added that the Helms-Burton Act codified the embargo on Cuba and it cannot be modified by the President. According to the letter, irremovable are also "all restrictions on travel" to the island.