U.S. Citizens May Soon Travel to Cuba Freely

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If several U.S. Senators have their way, American citizens will soon be able to travel freely to Cuba for the first time in almost 50 years.

North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan and Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming have introduced legislation called "The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act."

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News International Correspondent Gary Lane followed by Pat Robertson's comments on why the U.S. efforts could help spark a regime change in Cuba.

They say it's time for America to treat all communist countries the same.

"We say with China, we say with Vietnam and others, constructive engagement through trade and travel is the right way and the best way to move those countries toward greater human rights," Dorgan said.

"That is significantly a part of what we suggest with respect to Cuba. This is about change and the road to freedom for the Cuban people."

The U.S. imposed travel and trade bans in 1962, just three years after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba. Currently, only travel for journalists and humanitarian aid workers is allowed.

Sens. Dorgan and Enzi represent farm and ranch states. U.S. farmers and businessmen support the legislation. They hope it will lead to the lifting of other restrictions so they can enter the Cuban market.

The U.S. currently sells Cuba an average of $400 million a year in agricultural products.

How did Cuba respond to the news?

Cuban Vice Minister of Tourism, Maria Elena Lopez said "We are preparing for international tourism and so, if it comes, we will see, but the President of the United States has not spoken on the matter."

And some Republicans like Mel Martinez of Florida -- a state that is home to nearly 1 million Cubans -- oppose the legislation. Senator Martinez says the United States should support pro-democracy activists, not the Castro regime.

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