Senate amendment threatens BWI flights to Cuba
8:00 a.m. EST, March 12, 2011
Baltimore is fortunate to be one of eight new cities added to the list
of those airports able to serve travelers to Cuba ("BWI eligible to
provide charter flights to Cuba," March 9).
Under current rules, Cuban-Americans, religious delegations, academics,
researchers and business people seeking to sell agriculture products can
travel to Cuba, and they will now be able to use Baltimore-Washington
International Thurgood Marshall Airport for their departures.
Baltimore's status would be threatened, however, by an amendment written
by Florida's Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey's Senator Bob Menendez
to prevent all new airports from serving the Cuban market because these
senators oppose engagement between the United States and Cuba.
Such thinking has isolated our nation from Cuba for 50 years, failed to
bring down the Castro government, prevented our citizens from engaging
with the Cuban people and restricted the rights of Americans to freely
travel to Cuba.
Ultimately, all Americans should be allowed to travel to Cuba. Until
then, the people of Baltimore need to be heard in the corridors of the
U.S. Capitol to ensure that this expansion of travel service is
protected and not sacrificed to the Cold War politics of the past.
Sarah Stephens, Washington
The writer is the executive director of the Center for Democracy in the