Washington – Rep. Rosa DeLauro will be among about 20 other lawmakers, most of them Democrats, to visit Cuba with President Obama when he makes his historic trip to the island next week.
DeLauro, D-3rd District, said the trip signifies a “new era” in U.S.-Cuba relations.
She is a member of the Cuban Working Group, a group of lawmakers seeking to end the 50-plus-year U.S. economic embargo on Cuba and better relations between Washington, D.C., and Havana.
In his March 20-22 trip to Havana, Obama plans to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and attend a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and a Cuban national team. That will be only the second time a professional U.S. team plays a Cuban team since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
Obama’s visit will be the first by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge made the trip in 1928.
Ahead of his trip, the Obama administration announced on Tuesday changes in the embargo that allow Cubans to open U.S. bank accounts.
The new regulations also allow Cubans who visit the United States to earn a salary or some form of compensation for any work done here, opening the door for Major League Baseball to sign Cuban players without their having to defect.
Since December of 2014, Obama has used his executive authority to ease sanctions with Cuba. But the complete lifting of the embargo requires congressional action.
“Today’s actions by the administration are another step forward in normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, and I applaud the president for taking these common-sense steps to bridge the gap between our two nations,” DeLauro said. “The United States’ Cuba policy is decades out-of-date, and it is clear that the best way to bring democratic change is through economic participation and inclusion. Congress should follow the president’s lead and end the Cuban embargo.”
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