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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Contact: J. Jioni Palmer

                Washington D.C. – Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, announced today that she will lead a congressional delegation to Cuba tomorrow to discuss bilateral relations.

            “The election of President Barack Obama presents a great new opportunity to rethink U.S. foreign policy in many regions of the world,” said Lee. “America’s harsh approach toward our nearest Caribbean neighbor divides families, closes an important market to struggling U.S. farmers, harasses our allies and is based on antiquated Cold War era thinking.”

            The other members of the delegations are Reps. Mel Watt of North Carolina, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Mike Honda of California, Bobby Rush of Illinois and Laura Richardson of California.

            The purpose of the visit is to review policies related to trade and commerce with Cuba, and discuss cultural, health and academic exchanges.

            Lee said she is optimistic that this delegation will demonstrate to the people of Cuba that the America public is interested in building a new relationship based on diplomacy, dignity and respect.

            “It is time to have an open an honest discussion about a new way forward for our two nations and it is our hope that this delegation will help to initiate that discussion both here in the US and in Cuba,” Lee said.


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For Immediate Release

April 2, 2009

Contact: Nicole Y. Williams

(202) 225-2661

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Calls For the Lifting of Travel Ban to Cuba


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9) joined Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and other members in calling for the lifting of the ban on travel to Cuba from the United States through the passage of H.R. 874, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. She released this statement:

“I began working against the trade and travel ban as an aide to my predecessor Congressman Ronald Dellums in the 1970s. Despite some progress, we still face this travel ban that prevents critical exchange of ideas between Americans and the Cuban people.

“While I am pleased that there was a slight movement to help ease the onerous travel ban in the recently enacted omnibus spending bill, all Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba without restriction.

“And this is the bill would allow exactly that.  That is why I’m so pleased today to be a co-sponsor of this bill and join with my colleagues here in urging Congress to take action and pass HR 874, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.

“Americans are the best Ambassadors for our ideas and that important exchange of ideas will only come through ending this senseless ban on travel. 

“Statics show that the vast majority of American’s want the travel ban lifted. Today we say loud and clear that we are with you.

“It is far past time Congress acts to end this counterproductive and unnecessary travel ban and I look forward to working with tremendous leaders like, Congressman Delahunt, to do so.

“Together, let’s make the travel ban history!”

 Congresswoman Barbara Lee has long supported an end to the travel ban and has introduced legislation (H.R. 332) that would remove travel restrictions for students traveling to Cuba.





Nicole Y. Williams

Communications Director

The Honorable Barbara Lee (CA-9)

2444 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

(202) 226-0323 (Direct)

(202) 579-1925 (Cell)

(202) 225-9817 (Fax)

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