ASTA is praising President Barack Obama' nominee to be Secretary of State, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), for signaling a change in American foreign policy with respect to Cuba. At her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, Sen. Clinton indicated that the new Administration is committed to lifting current restrictions on Americans' freedom to visit family members in Cuba and to send remittances to relatives in that country.
Calling Cuban-Americans "the best ambassadors for democracy, freedom, and a free market economy," Clinton went on to tell members of the committee that she hopes the Castro regime will see that the new Administration represents an "opportunity to change some of their typical approaches."
Clinton 's nomination cleared the Foreign Relations Committee Thursday in a 16-1 vote.
"Senator Clinton's statement is an encouraging signal that the incoming Administration is open to new ideas with respect to U.S.-Cuba policy," said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. "While easing restrictions on family travel and remittances is a good first step, Americans would best be served by a complete elimination of current restrictions on travel to Cuba," Russo added.
In a letter dated Dec. 4, 2008, ASTA and a host of organizations from across the business community formally requested that the incoming Obama administration make immediate changes to U.S. policy toward Cuba, including a removal of the travel ban.
ASTA is committed to work with its allies from within and outside the travel and tourism industry to make the case for these policy changes, and it looks forward to working with Sen. Clinton and fellow members of the incoming Obama administration and with the 111th Congress to ensure that Americans are free to travel the world without restriction from their own government.
For additional information on this issue, please visit ASTA.org or contact Colin Tooze, vice president of government affairs, at email@example.com.
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