From Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA):
Thank you for contacting me regarding United States policy toward Cuba . I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your comments.
As you may know, Cuba was ravaged by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which struck the island within days of each other in late August and early September 2008. The hurricanes destroyed infrastructure, agriculture, and tens of thousands of homes. Although the Cuban people face dire humanitarian need, the Bush Administration has offered only $100,000 in aid to nongovernmental organizations in the wake of these storms. The United States trade embargo with Cuba has only complicated the situation, making it difficult for relatives and organizations to deliver much needed humanitarian aid.
That is why I support an emergency lifting of the embargo's restrictions on family travel and remittances for a period of 60 to 90 days so that Cuban Americans may visit their relatives in Cuba and send money and care packages to family members on the island.
Since the United States first imposed economic sanctions on Cuba in 1960, our policy has vacillated between loosening and tightening sanctions. Given the current uncertainty regarding Cuba's political future, I believe that the best way to help bring positive changes to Cuba in the long term is to allow more contact between the American people and the Cuban people.
I am proud to co-sponsor S.721, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. I feel that Congress must act to rescind travel barriers between the United States and Cuba and ease U.S. sanctions that close off potential markets to American farmers and manufacturers while doing little to promote democracy in Cuba .
Thank you again for writing to me about this important issue.
United States Senator
Please visit my website at http://boxer.senate.gov