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United States-Cuba Relations Normalization Act


In May of 2021, Bobby Rush (D-IL-1), a longtime advocate for ending the blockade and restoring relations between the U.S. and Cuba, introduced H.R. 3625 to Congress. This year’s version of a near-annual bill that Rush proposes to Congress, again makes it's goal to repeal the major laws that make up the blockade. Bobby Rush has been involved in Cuba advocacy since the late 90s when he co-sponsored H.R. 367 in 1996 to call for an end of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (also known as the Torricelli Act). Since then, he has co-sponsored numerous bills to promote the restoring of relations, protection of remittances, allowing for the export of food and medicine to Cuba following the Torricelli Act, allowing for business negotiations relating to energy resources and technologies, and more. Additionally, in 2009 he traveled to Cuba with the Congressional Black Caucus to examine possibilities for a new trade relationship between the two countries, foreshadowing the restoring of relations that would happen during Barack Obama’s second term. 


This year’s bill comes during a time in which U.S. aggression has been severely heightened with the Biden administration refusing to roll back the 243 sanctions that came under Trump. These include a ban on remittances, major restrictions on where U.S citizens can stay and do business in Cuba, the annulation of flights to provinces other than Havana, and bans on the purchase and import of cigars and rum by US citizens, among others. This, at a time in which the world has struggled through a global pandemic that has been exacerbated by vaccine and medical apartheid on a global scale. Even given the deep economic crisis that Cuba encountered they still sent 57 medical brigades to 40 countries  to serve in some of the hardest-hit areas in the world. Additionally, Cuba has also shown it’s deep dedication to health and safety for all by developing home-grown vaccines that by the end of 2021 will have been used to vaccinate nearly the entire population of the island and beyond, given it’s agreements to share the vaccine with other countries.

However, we at the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective believe that H.R. 3625 provides us with the best opportunity for unilaterally ending the blockade. Some of the proposed actions within the bill include:

The History

  • What are the qualifications for joining a trip to Latin America and the Caribbean?
    Anyone with a commitment to, or willingness to learn about, social justice should apply for a delegation. We encourage participation of people from diverse backgrounds. Our delegations involve a fair amount of walking and navigating stairs, rugged terrain, and inclines. If you needs or concerns about accessibility and accommodations on delegations, please reach out to
  • Is there a minimum age requirement?
    The minimum age for a delegation is 18, and some exceptions may apply. Reach out for more information on possible youth delegations through institutions. Most trips are inter-generational (age 18-80+). Please be prepared to engage with people of varied life experiences and worldviews.
  • How many people will be on the trip?
    Typical trips range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, with 12 as the average number.
  • What are the accommodations like?
    Delegates will stay together in modest, but safe and clean guesthouses. This typically involves dormitory style rooms (2-4 people per room), and private baths for each room. When staying with a family, the homes are usually humble and rustic. Though conditions may be much different from those to which delegates are accustomed, delegates consistently rate home stays as one of the highlights of their trip. Conditions vary across country site but can include: cold showers, thin mattresses and intermittent wifi.
  • What does my delegation fee cover and how much will it cost?
    Your delegation fee covers just about everything except airfare: food, lodging, translation, accompaniment, facilitation, reading and preparation materials, orientation and on-the-ground transportation (in Colombia, internal airfare is also covered in the price). For our Cuba delegations, there is an additional $100 visa cost. The prices of delegations vary depending on length of stay and country you’re visiting. By checking the online delegation page you can find the price of the specific delegation that interests you.
  • What happens if I am not be able to go on the delegation? Is my delegation fee refundable?
    One Month Prior to Delegation Departure Refund requests received up to 1 month before delegation departure will be issued a full refund minus the $300 deposit. 30 Days or Less until Delegation Departure Date Delegation Credit: Refund requests received with less than 1 month of departure are eligible for a delegation credit of the entire delegation fee amount less the $300 deposit and any non-refundable expenses already incurred by Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective, such as domestic airline tickets or lodging. This delegation credit amount can be applied toward a future WFPSC delegation of your choice. This credit will be issued in the form of a written letter with the requisite accounting information from the WFPSC staff. Cash Refunds: For delegates wishing to receive a cash refund, any refund request received less than 1 month before the departure of the delegation is eligible for a 50% cash refund of the full delegation fee, less the $300 deposit, $50 processing fee and any non-refundable expenses already incurred by WFPSC, such as domestic airline tickets or lodging. Travel delays: WFPSC cannot offer a refund to delegates that do not arrive or depart on the scheduled dates due to changes or cancellations made by airlines or other transportation companies. We encourage delegates to seek appropriate refunds directly from transportation company representatives. Schedule changes: Due to the sensitive nature of WFPSC delegations, itineraries are subject to change. If there is domestic air travel, WFPSC will refund to delegates any funds it is able to recover whenever possible, if the itinerary is changed due to security or other safety concerns. Travel Insurance: Delegates may wish to consider purchasing additional travel insurance before their trip. Consult your travel agent for details.
  • Are Sliding Scale prices and fundraising support available?
    Sliding scale prices are available for every delegation and are included in the delegation application. Fundraising support is provided in terms of raising funds online and thinking about raising funds through your local community. Unfortunately at this time, we have little to no scholarships available.
  • Is there any training or orientation before or during the delegation?
    Preparation for the delegation is an important part of your experience. Before departing for your trip, you will receive reading materials that cover health precautions, items to pack, what to expect from your delegation, and a reading materials. An extensive orientation and training session takes place prior to travel and on the first day of your delegation. This includes cultural awareness, health and safety guidelines, and an introduction to consensus based decision-making. You will also become familiar with international development policies as well as the historic and current political reality of the country you’re visiting.
  • I would like to coordinate a delegation for a group of people. Can you customize a delegation for my group?
    We can custom design delegations for organizations, universities, and faith communities. Please fill out the application form here.
  • Can I get academic credit for my delegation experience?
    Some colleges offer credit for participation in a WFPSC delegations. Inquire with your institutions first to determine the course requirements. Independent study options have worked well in the past for students.
  • What type of skills will I learn on a trip with the WFP Solidarity Collective?
    On your delegation, you will gain invaluable experience that will serve you personally, academically, and professionally for years to come. By going on a delegation, you will learn about the history and current implications of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, grassroots organizing, alternative group processes, cross-cultural sensitivity, policy advocacy and much more.
  • Who sets up the trip and accompanies the group?
    All delegations are set up and facilitated by International Program Directors, who are based in our program sites. These program directors accompany the groups, providing interpretation and facilitation. Program Directors are experienced leading delegations and can serve as a valuable resource in answering questions regarding U.S. foreign policy in the country you are visiting. Delegation coordinators are responsible for stateside recruitment and will also be accompanying the delegation.
  • Is it dangerous to travel to Latin America and the Caribbean?
    The safety of our delegates is of the utmost concern to WFPSC. We have been hosting delegations to Latin America since 1983 and have extensive networks in the countries in which we operate. This experience has allowed us to responsibly and safely coordinate delegations. All WFPSC staff are the final decision-makers with safety and security concerns. Delegates must respect and follow the decisions made by WFPSC staff. Before beginning any delegation, participants receive an extensive security and health briefing, and go over common sense precautions. By following such measures, delegations are generally very safe. Cuba is considered a very safe country. In Colombia and Honduras, the level of political violence requires a much more extensive training and these delegations are not for everyone.
  • Can I go out in the evenings while on delegation?
    We want to honor and respect the autonomy and different levels of travel experience that delegates have as well as the fact that some may have roots in the country we are visiting. Going out at night (dancing, to a bar, etc…) is not always recommended or allowed. WFPSC staff should always be consulted as some country sites have specific policies and safety guidelines must be followed. Additionally, delegates should always consider how going out will affect their engagement on the delegation (falling asleep in early morning meetings with community members and waking up roommates, for example).
  • Can specific dietary needs be accommodated?
    Food accommodations vary across country sites and program directors should always be consulted before delegates book a flight if the diet is very restrictive. Our communities are not always able to accommodate vegans, and people with gluten allergies as cross-contamination is possible. We can often accommodate vegetarians, however the diet is often more limited. Bringing snacks is allowed and recommended.
  • What is internet and phone connectivity like on a delegation?
    Honduras and Colombia: Check with your phone carrier for phone options. Wifi is consistently available at lodging. Delegates are usually able to communicate with loved ones via messaging apps and take care of internet business when settled in their rooms or in common areas. Cuba: Wifi cards will be available for purchase once delegates arrive at lodging, where they can be used in common areas. Wifi gives you access to email, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc. To access a bank account or other financial accounts (Paypal, Venmo, etc) you must download a VPN (a private network) to your device before you arrive. You will most likely be without internet access for the majority of your trip. Remind friends and family that “no news is good news.”

Act Now

Key Provisions

The legislation includes the following provisions:


  • Repealing the Trading With the Enemy Act which would allow business across sectors to trade and do business with Cuba, an action which would severely aid both economies given the achievements that Cuba has made in fields such as medicine.

  • Repealing of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 (Also known as the Torricelli Act) which would allow for Cuba to buy medicine and food from the U.S. At the time of the bill being introduced, Senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ-?) was quoted as saying “my mission is to wreak havoc on that island.” This law was introduced following the fall of the socialist camp to deliberately worsen the crises of food and medicine shortages that Cuba faced.

  • Repeal of The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Also known as the Helms-Burton Law) which would seriously curtail the extrajudicial power that the U.S. exerts over Cuba through the blockade. In recent years, the Helms-Burton law has prevented Cuba from securing international negotiations for medical supplies such as those necessary to make basic daily medications and those used in the fight for COVID-19 such as ventilators. This is because the Helms-Burton Law makes it illegal for subsidiaries of U.S. companies to do business with Cuba and for Cuba to buy raw material that has more than 10% of its source in the United States.

  • Changing the language in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to call for the closing of Guantanamo Bay and all military and intelligence facilities. Since 2001, the U.S. has maintained a prison and torture camp at their occupied land at Guantanamo Bay where they have committed atrocious crimes against humanity and extrajudicial holding of innocent prisoners.

  • Allow for telecommunications companies to maintain and repair telecommunications services between the US and Cuba - The US has blocked Cubans from accessing many of the telecommunications resources and websites that originate in the U.S. prohibiting Cubans from using many tools that would be beneficial across various sectors. Additionally, the U.S. has not allowed Cuba to connect to the fiberoptic cable that Even in the face of this, Cuba maintains the second highest inter

  • Prohibit the regulation of travel, and transaction made during travel within legal constraint, between the US and Cuba for US citizens and residents. Transactions that could not be prohibited include foreign currency drafts, traveler’s checks, and more.

  • The United States should take steps to conduct negotiations with the Cuban government for settling claims of nationals of the US against the Cuban government for the taking of property

  • Normalize trade relations with Cuba to promote democratic change and economic reform

  • Repealing any limitations on number of annual remittances or yearly amount on any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the US

Co-Sponsors in the House

Keep in Mind

What things would we want to change about the Rush Bill?

  • Part about democratic change and “becoming competitive in the global market”

  • Part about “assisting Cuba in developing its economy based on free market principles”

  • Achieving “democratic rule” in Cuba

  • Doesn’t call for reparations 


See letter to President Joe Biden here:


Article by Bobby Rush:


Full text of the legislation is available in English: here


Para ver el texto completo del proyecto de ley: aqui

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