The Office of Public Witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is urging church members to oppose a congressional effort to further restrict U.S. citizens’ ability to travel to Cuba.
In a news release, the office says a bill approved by the House Financial Services Subcommittee would eliminate educational exchanges with Cuba which are not “for-credit” or in pursuit of an academic degree. Such a move would eliminate “people-to-people cultural education exchanges” that have taken place since President Obama eased sanctions on traveling to the island nation, the release says.
It calls those cultural exchanges “a much more fit alternative to address challenges and ideological differences between the United States and Cuban government than the past policies of ostracism and intimidation.” Reinstating travel restrictions, it says, runs counter to the PC(USA)’s policy of pursuing normal diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Noting that President Obama has pledged to veto any bill that would undermine his current policy on Cuba, the news release urges church members to push their legislators to remove the new restrictions from the bill before it reaches the House floor.