House Republicans brought to light legislation Tuesday to hinder President Obama’s recent move to ease American restrictions on travel to Cuba.
One of the first legislative attempts to prevent new U.S. travel to Cuba, the provision was introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban American from Florida. The provision, attached to a new House Department of Transportation appropriations bill, would block new flights or cruise ship travel to the Communist-ruled country.
Here’s what Diaz-Balart, leading opponent of Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, said:
‘’U.S. law prohibits tourism in Cuba, and U.S. law also allows for those whose properties were confiscated by the Castro regime to sue those who use, or benefit from using, those confiscated properties.
The expansion of regularly scheduled flights to Cuba is an obvious attempt to circumvent the tourism ban. Similarly, allowing cruises to dock in Cuba would violate both the spirit and the letter of U.S. law. Increased travel to Cuba directly funds the individuals and institutions that oppress the Cuban people.’’
Diaz-Balart’s move comes just months after Obama’s administration issued new rules to ease travel restrictions to Cuba and authorized regularly scheduled flights for the first time.
The provision is expected to spark controversy and face fierce opposition in Congress, where another group of lawmakers has introduced legislation seeking to revoke all restrictions on travel to Cuba.