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Cuba Travel Ban Won’t Be Lifted This Year
Date: 12/2/2010
Written By: The Hill, By Mike Lillis

Excerpt: Legislation eliminating a longstanding travel ban to Cuba is dead in this Congress, several senior Democrats said this week. Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), a strong backer of lifting the ban, called it "absurd" that Congress would maintain restrictions "predicated on a Cold-War mentality" irrelevant to current events. But with the year drawing to a close — and lawmakers reluctant to tackle yet another thorny topic in a politically polarized environment — the bill won't come up in the lame duck, he said. "There will be no action," Delahunt, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs panel, told The Hill... Still, the bill's supporters are holding out hope that the incoming class of Republicans will feel differently than GOP leaders about the sanctions. Although many conservatives have traditionally supported the ban as a way of pressuring Cuba's communist dictatorship, the incoming class of Republicans brings with it a libertarian streak that favors individual freedoms above government intrusion, many observers note. That position could place them at odds with GOP incumbents — notably Ros-Lehtinen — who have fought for years to keep U.S. restrictions on Cuba in place. "They might not take kindly to the government telling them where they can and can't travel, where they can and can't trade," Jake Colvin, vice president of global trade at the National Foreign Trade Council, said of the incoming Republicans. "Their perspectives will be much more of a libertarian bent. … The conventional wisdom that Republicans are more hard-lined on Cuba may not play out next year."