While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba have been reestablished and some trade and travel restrictions have been changed by executive order, the embargo remains in place and the Cuban people still experience the shortages of crucial medicines and other essential products. Imposed in the early sixties to “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government” (State Department, April 6, 1960) the U.S. embargo is often called a blockade because of the widespread effects of these policies. CRLN has worked with many other organizations for more than twenty years to end these harmful policies carried out in our name. This work has led to many positive changes in policy. Because these policy changes were made by executive order our current president was able on June 16 to reinstate some of the limits to travel and trade. Action by Congress is required to finally end all the U.S. restrictions including the embargo and this year several bi-partisan bills have been reintroduced in the House and Senate. By working together we can change these harmful policies!
IL Senators Durbin and Duckworth are (or soon will be) co-sponsors of the bills in the Senate, so in Illinois we are focusing on the Illinois Representatives. Call the Capitol Switchboard today at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Representative. Let them know that now is the time to finally lift these restrictions (sample script below)! Be sure to thank them if they are a co-sponsor already.
✱ The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act (H.R. 525)
Introduced by Rep. Eric A. Crawford (R-AR-1)
This bill seeks to repeal financing restrictions, allowing firms in the U.S. to offer credit to Cuba in connection with exports of U.S. agricultural goods. It also seeks to eliminate restrictions on key federal funding used in agricultural export promotions. Current Illinois representatives co-sponsoring are: Robin Kelly (D- IL 02), Rodney Davis (R-IL 13), Cheri Bustos (D- IL 17), Darin LaHood (R- IL18), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8)
✱ The Cuba Trade Act (H.R. 442)
Introduced by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6)
This bill would allow businesses in the private sector to trade freely with Cuba, while prohibiting taxpayer funds to be used on promotion or development of a new market. Current Illinois representative co-sponsoring is Darin LaHood (R-IL 18)
✱ The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 351)
Introduced by Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC-1)
The bill simply removes the current travel restrictions to Cuba.
Suggested Script for IL Representatives “As your constituent, I want you to know that I strongly support continued U.S. engagement with Cuba. Increased travel and trade with Cuba allows your constituents their right to travel to Cuba, but also helps to improve the lives of the Cuban people.
The U.S. embargo on Cuba has hurt both the Cuban and the American people. I urge you to co-sponsor HR 525, HR 442 and HR 351 to lift the U.S. travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba.” (if they have co-sponsored you can add the thank-you in this paragraph)