Observing the one-year mark of President Barack Obama’s renewal of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter last week to Obama supporting continued interaction between the nations.
The senators listed bilateral air services, personal travel, exporting, financial transactions and regulatory coordination among their goals in their communication.
“The coming year represents a critical opportunity for meaningful advancement of these objectives,” the senators said. ”Removing statutory limits on travel and trade will require congressional action. However, within the finite time remaining, continued progress in the regulatory arena represents the best strategy for resilient changes in the U.S. and Cuba as well as increasing the prospects that Congress will act.”
Noting that “Americans are connecting with Cubans as never before,” Flake and Leahy cited the opening of embassies, improved communication among attaches and more island visits from the mainland as touchstones marking a new era of relations between Cuba and the United States.
The senators urged Obama to continue U.S. support for both travel and trade relations. In order to “improve the lives of the Cuban people, and provide genuine opportunities to address human rights issues,” Flake and Leahy also asked Obama to support efficiency in communications to create a foundation for improved efficiency in resolving certified claims.