Monday, January 10, 2011

Do you want to travel to Cuba?

After it looked a couple of months ago as if a bill lifting the ban on U.S. travel to Cuba had the momentum to pass Congress, it now appears stalled in the House of Representatives. The bill, which would also make food sales to Cuba easier, cleared the House Agriculture Committee but still needs a vote in two other committees — Financial Services and Foreign Affairs — and it may not even come up for a full vote this year. So as reports surface that the Obama Administration plans on its own to expand legal travel opportunities to Cuba, the question is whether such a move will spur or spoil the House bill — whose passage would mark the biggest shift in U.S. Cuba policy since a trade embargo was issued against the communist island in 1962.
President Obama, according to Administration and congressional sources, intends before the year is out to loosen restrictions on visits to Cuba by U.S. students, entertainers and other goodwill ambassadors. Backers of increased American engagement with Cuba applaud the proposal, which is part of the President's executive prerogative under the embargo. In reality, the action would simply be taking U.S. policy back to the Clinton Administration, before former President George W. Bush all but froze that kind of people-to-people contact with Cuba. But it's less clear if Obama intends his new regulations to be a signal of support for eliminating the entire travel ban — which only Congress can do — or an unspoken message that this is as far as he wants to take the battle against the embargo's dogged supporters on Capitol Hill.
If you really want to have a trip to Cuba, remember take a camera to record your venture then convert them with a video converter for Mac software and share with your friends.

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