12.17.15

Rep. Lee Celebrates One Year of Renewed Relations with Cuba

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a member of the bipartisan Congressional Cuba Working Group’s Steering Committee, released this statement marking the first anniversary of President Obama’s historic announcement of renewed relations between the U.S. and Cuba:

“One year ago, I joined many of my colleagues and the vast majority of the American people in applauding President Obama’s bold action to end more than five decades of failed policy toward Cuba.

The President’s announcement was a historic step and renewed relations between our two nations have and will continue to benefit both the Cuban and American people.

Over the past year, we have made significant progress toward fully normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba with expanded travel, technology transfers and formalized relations. Earlier this year, I was honored to attend the re-opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. and the re-opening of the American Embassy in Havana. By re-establishing formal relations, our countries have laid the groundwork to continue addressing areas of shared interest.

These rapid changes have been remarkable but more work remains and Congress must join these efforts.

It’s past time for Congress to stop clinging to more than fifty years of failed policy and instead help chart a new path for relations between our two nations. Yesterday, I joined eleven of my colleagues in launching the bipartisan Cuba Working Group and I look forward to working with my colleagues to repeal the failed embargo, lift the travel ban and modernize our relations with Cuba.

As we mark the anniversary of President Obama’s historic announcement, let us recommit to once and for all ending more than five decades of failed policy toward Cuba.”

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Lee has been working on U.S.-Cuba policy since 1977 and has traveled to the island more than 20 times, leading several Congressional delegations. Congresswoman Lee is proudly co-sponsoring the bipartisan Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 664) to lift the travel ban and the Free Trade with Cuba Act (H.R. 403) to end the embargo. Learn more about the Congresswoman’s work by reading her nationally syndicated OpEd.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.