US senator says embargo on Cuba runs contrary to US ideals
HAVANA, Cuba - Vermont’s Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said that US ideals must be promoted by lifting the travel ban and the embargo against Cuba.
Speaking to reporters on Monday and after having attended the flag-raising ceremony at the US embassy in Havana, Leahy defended US citizens’ right to travel to the island.
"We can go anywhere – Iran, we can go to North Korea, assuming they'll let you in, but not Cuba," Leahy said. "We should have students going back and forth, businesses going back and forth."
The United States government allows exemptions to the travel ban for United States citizens conducting any of 12 activities that include journalism, religious promotion and education.
Leahy said that further progress toward normalization of Cuban relations with the United States may offer opportunities for Vermont's farmers, and potentially its dairy farmers in particular. These effects are likely to be slight, however, owing to the island country's small economy, Leahy said.
Leahy has been active in leading efforts in Congress to normalize relations with Cuba.