August 14, 2015

Udall Statement on Today's Flag Raising Ceremony in Cuba

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement as the United States raised its flag over the newly re-opened embassy in Havana, Cuba:

"The ceremonial flag raising marks a historic turning point in the relationship between the United States and Cuba. The flag represents the strength and ideals of our nation and our ongoing commitment to a free and open Cuba that will strengthen the security and the economic well-being of both of our countries. But today's ceremony also highlighted that there is still work to be done before we can reach these goals. Congress must repeal outdated laws that prevent businesses from expanding and hinder Americans' ability to travel freely to Cuba. I will continue to work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to push Congress to take these steps that will enable us to truly modernize 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 an end to 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 — which 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.