RFK Wanted to Lift Cuba Travel Ban, Too

Obama should quash 'inconsistent' rule, says former AG's daughter
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 9:06 AM CDT
RFK Wanted to Lift Cuba Travel Ban, Too
Boys play handball in a park in Old Havana, Wednesday, April 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Javier Galeano)

Blocking Americans from traveling to Cuba is "inconsistent with traditional American liberties," according to the US attorney general. Eric Holder in 2009? Nope: Bobby Kennedy in 1963—who opposed prosecuting students who went to Havana and unsuccessfully pushed the Johnson White House to lift the ban. As daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend writes in the Washington Post, that travel prohibition is even more indefensible today than it was in the 1960s.

Barack Obama and his administration have taken an important first step in lifting restrictions for Cuban Americans. But 64% of Americans support free travel for all to the island, and lifting the ban would not only help advance democracy in Cuba, it would benefit relations with the whole of Latin America. "This is the time to normalize relations with Havana," writes Kennedy Townsend, "and take Cuba off the hemispheric agenda for good." (More Kathleen Kennedy Townsend stories.)

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