The Bush Administration imposed cruel family unfriendly legislation in the summer of 2004 which limited visits to loved ones in Cuba to once every three years. And as if this was not tragic enough, the W Bush cadre in Washington, DC, with the help of certain anti-Cubans in Miami, decided that they would take it upon themselves to define who a Cuban family member can be. They opted to leave out aunts, uncles and cousins, among many others.
With a new Democratic Party-led Congress in Washington as a result of the November 2006 elections, this year was kicked off with two new bipartisan bills in Congress which would do away with travel restrictions to Cuba for American citizens (Flake and Rangel Bill) and another that does away with restrictions imposed in ’04 on Cuban Americans as mentioned in the first paragraph. This second bill, HR 757, co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) was taken on as a special project by the Cuban American Commission for Family Rights, a group formed in June 2004 solely for the purpose of combating the Bush anti-family measures. About one month ago we decided to solicit signatures on a petition in support of HR 757. To date we have collected 3,562 signatures. But we want more!
I know there are hundreds of these petition forms sitting on people’s cars, desks, dinner tables, and so on, many have already been filled out with the 20 signatures each petition form has space for. The problem is… they haven’t been mailed back. Please help us in collecting these signatures. Let your voices be heard in the halls of Congress.
Let me tell you why it is so important. Our opponents in DC and in Miami are lying to other members of Congress, telling them, “Why support such a bill when Cuban-Americans in Miami are against it.” As we all know, not all Cuban Americans are against open travel to Cuba. And in fact, if you’ve looked at the latest polls, especially when it comes to family travel, the great majority is very much against the 2004 Bush Administration anti-family measures.
So to make a long story short, I am again asking for your help with these petitions in favor of the Delahunt-LaHood Bill (HR 757). Our message must be loud and clear: Separation of families is NOT good policy – under any circumstance!If you have petitions already filled out, please mail them to:
Cuban American Commission for Family Rights, PO Box 330017, Miami, FL 33233
And if you would like to help and have not done so already, visit http://www.progresoweekly.com/Commission/form.pdf print out a form and start gathering signatures. These are not limited to Cuban Americans, so sign up your friends, neighbors and family members.Thank you!
Alvaro F. Fernandez