Resolution Calling for the End of Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Adopted at 2004 Annual Conference

Whereas the right to travel is a Constitutional right about which Justice William O. Douglas wrote “Once the right to travel is curtailed, all other rights suffer,” and that travel is a key to “knowing, studying, arguing, exploring, conversing, observing and even thinking;”

Whereas the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced even further regulations on travel to Cuba;

Whereas these new restrictions eliminate all education travel of less than ten weeks except where such travel would “directly support U.S. policy goals;” and,

Whereas “people-to-people exchanges” to Cuba - the largest category of licensed travel previously available to the American people to see Cuba for themselves - were eliminated in 2003; and

Whereas the category of “fully hosted travel” - which allows hundred of US students to study gratis at medical schools in Cuba - has now been eliminated; and

Whereas the new restrictions include violations of basic human rights such as the limitation of family visits for Cuban Americans to only once every three years, regardless of family emergency; and

Whereas the Washington Office on Latin America writes that “the new policy toward Cuba is cruel, inhumane and counterproductive because it hurts ordinary Cuban citizens, further restricts the rights of American families and divides Cuban families;”

Be it resolved that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of ALA urges librarians to file comments with OFAC through http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/comment.html opposing the restrictions

(deadline was August 16, 2004).

Be it resolved that SRRT urges librarians to write to Secretary of State Powell, local representatives and senators, and Senator Kerry opposing all restrictions on travel to Cuba.

And be it resolved that SRRT supports the travel challenges being organized in July 2004 by Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan, the Venceremos Brigade, and the African Awareness Association and urges librarians to join the Librarians Travel Challenge in the summer of 2005.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 148/149, pp. 21-22