U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the agreement between the United States and Cuba to re-open embassies in Washington and Havana:
“Re-opening embassies in Washington and Havana is a historic step toward normalizing relations and finally building a 21st century relationship with Cuba. In my visits with Cuban entrepreneurs, artists and others, it’s clear to me that the Cuban people are eager to engage with the world. Re-establishing formal relations and further opening Cuba to American tourism, trade and commerce is a better way to bring freedom and openness to Cuba than the failed policies of the past. The administration has made tremendous progress in just a few short months, but Congress holds the ability to truly open Cuba by repealing outdated laws that prevent businesses from expanding and hinder Americans’ ability to travel freely to Cuba. The best diplomats of American values are Americans themselves, and I will continue to work on the Foreign Relations Committee to push Congress to take these further steps toward modernizing our relations with Cuba.”
Udall is a longtime advocate for normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba and supports legislation permitting U.S. citizens to freely travel to Cuba, efforts to open the Internet, and end the embargo blocking U.S. trade with Cuba. Udall has traveled to Cuba to meet with Cuban officials, religious and business leaders, entrepreneurs and artists to discuss the impacts of the embargo and travel restrictions on American and Cuban families. In November, Udall met with American prisoner Alan Gross shortly before Gross was released from the Cuban jail where he had been held since 2009.
In May, Udall introduced the Cuba Digital and Telecommunications Advancement Act – or Cuba DATA Act – will allow American companies to help Cuba build the 21st-century telecommunications infrastructure necessary in today’s global economy and empower Cubans to realize their full potential. He also is a cosponsor of the Agricultural Export Expansion Act to help support and improve the export of American agricultural commodities to Cuba.