US Senator speaks out against Cuba travel ban

(17 Aug 2001)

1. U-S Senator Byron Dorgan (standing left) at news conference
2. Close shot of graphic showing example of travel penalty
3. News conference
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat, North Dakota
“This new enforcement action is apparently an attempt to take a swing at Fidel Castro. All it really does is hit American citizens with fines that are horribly inappropriate, defying a travel ban that has largely been unaggressively enforced in recent years.”
5. News conference
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat, North Dakota
“I think it is illogical for this country to have a travel ban with respect to the country of Cuba. We didn’t have a travel ban to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. We don’t have a travel ban to China, North Vietnam or Vietnam now, or North Korea – communist countries. This travel ban is a remnant, it’s a Cold War relic of a 40 year policy with respect to Cuba that clearly has failed.”
7. Dorgan speaking
8. News conference
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat, North Dakota
“I think this is a curious and an unfortunate time for the administration to decide they’re going to start taking a swipe at American citizens, hoping that somehow they will have an impact on Fidel Castro. This isn’t going to have an impact on Fidel Castro, this just hurts American citizens who wanted to travel someplace.”
10. Wide shot of news conference


A U-S lawmaker said on Friday the Bush administration was cracking down unfairly on Americans who travel to Cuba.

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan says the U-S Treasury Department has recently been slapping U-S citizens with harsh fines for travelling to Cuba.

He told reporters in Washington that in one case a retired social worker was fined seven-thousand-600 dollars by the Treasury Department because he joined a Canadian bicycle tour of Cuba.

Dorgan chairs a Senate panel that oversees Treasury Department funding.

U-S citizens are barred from travel to Cuba unless they have express permission from the government, a ban that has not always been rigorously enforced.

But this year the Treasury Department has started to enforce the ban.

Dorgan would like to see the ban lifted altogether.

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