SANFORD ISSUES STATEMENT ON CUBA
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Mark Sanford released the following statement regarding the President’s move toward normalizing relations with Cuba.
“Though I have been a critic of many of the President’s actions, I think it is important to give credit where credit is due. Accordingly, I am encouraged by the President’s move today to ease restrictions for Americans wanting to travel to Cuba and the promise of efforts to begin a dialogue with the people of Cuba.
Unlike many of his recent actions with regard to Presidential authority that I have worked hard with others to counter, this one is actually clearly within the scope of his authority as President. Furthermore, Cuba travel policy was inconsistent with our country’s founding principle of individual liberty and the freedom of movement that should come with it. In fact, with the exception of Cuba, we are allowed to travel to any country in the world. Think about that. Americans could travel to Iran, North Korea, or Syria, but not Cuba fifty miles off our coast.
The move toward diplomatic conversation and a United States Embassy in Cuba is both wise and a statement of the obvious, as the U.S. Interests Section in Havana has long been one of the busiest of State Department facilities in the Western Hemisphere.
I will be introducing a bill with Democratic and Republican colleagues at the beginning of the next Congress that mirrors a similar bill Jeff Flake is advancing in the Senate. It preserves the right of Americans to travel to Cuba, regardless of who occupies the White House. This is important because actions similar to today’s (to relax travel restrictions) were taken in the 1970s by President Carter and quickly removed when President Reagan took office.
Since the 1990s, with legislation I offered then, I have been an advocate for preserving Americans’ constitutional rights to travel freely. This is a step in the right direction, and in that regard, I credit the President.”