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July 19, 2005
The Honorable José E. Serrano
House of Representatives
2227 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Serrano,
I write to express our support for your efforts to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cuban-Americans to assist their relatives there in the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis.
Your resolution, H.Con.Res. 206, expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should temporarily suspend restrictions on remittances, gift parcels and family travel to Cuba, is a laudable example of the humanitarian spirit that ought to be a constant element of our Cuba policy.
Unfortunately, despite repeated Administration expressions of concern for the Cuban people, the recent policies that further restrict the ability of Cubans in this country from aiding their suffering relatives on the island, including most incomprehensibly the limitation of family visits to once every three years instead of annually as before, seem to belie that concern.
It has been the long-standing position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that the failed economic embargo policy should be dismantled. In recent years, majority votes in both houses of the Congress clearly agree. Until that finally occurs, I pray that your efforts to allow Cubans in the United States to reach out to assist their families affected by the devastation of Hurricane Dennis will succeed.
Most Reverend John H. Ricard, SSJ
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
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