Posted on Monday, 04.08.13
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor: Lift Cuba embargo, travel restrictions
By Richard Danielson
Tampa Bay Times
TAMPA — Saying "it's time to try something new," U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor
on Monday called for the Obama administration and Congress to lift
travel restrictions and the 51-year-old trade embargo on Cuba.
"Cuba is changing," said Castor, D-Tampa, who left on a fact-finding
trip to Cuba Wednesday evening and returned on Saturday. "They have
embarked on economic reforms that the United States of America should
promote. The United States of America now should normalize relations and
begin a constructive dialogue with the island nation."
Castor said Fidel Castro is no longer in power, described his brother,
President Raul Castro, as "a much more practical ruler," and said there
is a generational change underway in Cuba's government.
"They are still a hard-core communist nation, but they are embarking on
market reforms in their economy that deserve encouragement," said
Castor, who traveled with members of her staff and representatives of
the nonprofit, non-partisan Center for Democracy in the Americas.
As a result of her trip, Castor said she plans to reach out to President
Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "to open talks to lead to
greater trade and travel opportunities."
"This should not be done with blinders on, however," she said. "There
are still very significant human rights challenges in Cuba. It is still,
to many extents, a repressive regime that does not allow citizens to
enjoy all of the human rights that we all enjoy. But after 50 years of
an embargo and isolation that's proved that it hasn't worked, it's time
to try something new and refresh our relationship."
Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@tampabay.com or (813)