US Senator Patrick Leahy Defends Normal Ties with Cuba

Havana, Cuba, Jul 18 (ACN) US Senator Patrick Leahy said on Tuesday that he will continue working hard in Congress to lift the restrictions imposed by the US against Cuba.

During an interview with Prensa Latina News Agency, the Democrat from Vermont who supports efforts in eliminating the travel ban, trade restrictions and elimination of the economic blockade against Cuba recalled that the majority of the people in the US want normal relations with Cuba.

We know that there will always be problems, nothing can change from one night to the other, but for the good of both peoples, we must have better ties between both countries, he said.

Leahy has traveled to Cuba several times, the last trip was last February when he and Republic Senator Thad Cochran headed a Congressional delegation to Cuba and met with President Raul Castro and other authorities.

The Vermont Senator reiterated that he will continue traveling to Cuba and fight for a better future for both countries.

Senator Leahy, who is Vice President of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in his website that he has been working for the last two years in transforming an over 50 year old failed policy.

After US President Donald Trump’s announcement last June 16 th in Miami that he would revert the advances in bilateral ties, Leahy characterized it as an empty setback.

According to the Senator, Trump’s decision means a blow for freedom to travel for the American people, a US national interest and that of the Cuban people only with the objective of returning a political favor to a small fraction in Miami.

After a speech at the House of Representative, Leahy once again criticized Trump’s position in the issue and defended the need to vote in favor of the Freedom to Travel Act, presented last May 25th along with Republican Jeff Flake and another 53 co-sponsors from both parties.

I expect the Majority leader will allow the act to be voted on, he said, who pointed out that the Cuban and US people want close ties as demonstrated in recent surveys.

Leahy and Amy Klobuchar as well as Jeff Flake and Mike Enzi also introduced the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act in the Senate that would eliminate legal barriers imposed on US companies interested in doing business with the Caribbean island.