White House stands firm on lifting limits on Cuba travel

A White House statement indicates President Obama to wield his veto pen if transportation bill includes travel restrictions to Cuba

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The White House signalled that it is planning to veto legislation that Republican congressmen have attached to new restrictions on traveling to Cuba in a major transportation bill.

The transportation bill contains measures designed to block travel to Cuba and stymie President Barack Obama’s broader effort to revive Cuba ties after decades of being in a deep freeze since the Cold War.

"[Obama’s] senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," the White House said in a statement.

Republican Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said the bill violates the Cuban travel ban, which is based on the broader US embargo of Cuba in effect since the early 1960s.

The embargo can only be removed with an act of Congress.

Some members of Congress, mostly Cuban-American lawmakers, have opposed Obama’s plan to improve ties.

Republicans, who have close ties to the Cuban-American community, want Cuba’s government to do more to improve human rights on the Communist island, release US fugitives living in Cuba and allow free elections before easing restrictions on trade, travel and diplomatic relations.  

The United States formally dropped Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism last Friday, an important step toward restoring diplomatic ties but one that will have a limited effect on removing US sanctions on the island.

TRTWorld and agencies