January 29, 2018

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Returns From Congressional Trip to Cuba

Reiterates Longstanding Commitment to Strengthening Partnerships Between the Two Nations

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee recently returned from a productive visit to Cuba and re-emphasized her commitment to restoring U.S.-Cuba relations. During her visit, Congresswoman Lee met with senior Cuban leadership to discuss the recent roll back of U.S. normalization policies and the safety of American diplomats and visitors in Cuba.

“This trip provided a valuable opportunity to meet with Cuban officials to discuss U.S.-Cuban relations and learn more about the recent health incidents affecting U.S. personnel. Of course, the safety of our diplomats is paramount and I am deeply committed to working with officials in both countries to protect the health of Americans on Cuban soil and ensure that those affected are cared for,” said Congresswoman Lee. “However, U.S. policies and presence in Cuba need to be grounded in the facts. The ordered departure of U.S. personnel from Havana has gutted consular and commercial services, thereby hurting both Cuban and American businesses and families. The Trump Administration should either end the State Department travel warning and restore U.S. diplomatic presence in Cuba or make public the evidence that supports these extreme measures. Cuba is undergoing historic reforms – we should be an active partner during this pivotal time. Sadly, the Trump Administration’s regressive ideological policies are putting this progress at risk.”

During her trip, Congresswoman Lee also participated in the historic unveiling of the Jose Marti statue in Havana. The statue commemorates the Cuban poet and revolutionary who lived in New York City for many years while in exile. It is a replica of the original statue, which stands in Central Park.

“The inauguration of the Jose Marti statue in Havana – which came from the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York – should be a model for U.S.-Cuba cultural cooperation going forward,” Congresswoman Lee added. “Instead of erecting roadblocks to travel and diplomatic initiatives, President Trump should listen to the bipartisan voices demanding a new approach to our relationship with Cuba.”

Congresswoman Lee is a co-chair of the bipartisan Cuba Working Group. She has visited Cuba more than two dozen times over the last four decades.