A recent Journal-World series on the U.S. crackdown on travel to Cuba is being brought to the attention of Congress today.
Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., is sending copies of the newspaper's "Trading With the Enemy?" series to all 434 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives. A spokeswoman said the distribution was intended to stimulate renewed debate on the travel and trade embargo with Cuba.
"Congressman Moore has long been a supporter of opening markets in Cuba, because he believes it will help our farmers and companies be more competitive globally," said spokeswoman Christie Appelhanz.
The Journal-World series ran last month. It focused on Lawrence resident Bob Augelli, who at one point faced a $37,000 federal fine for four illegal trips he made to Cuba in 1998 and 1999. Augelli said last week he would settle the case for $2,500.
The series also told the stories of others who had been fined under the embargo, and looked at the political underpinnings of the four-decade-old policy that has left communist ruler Fidel Castro in power.
Sarah Stephens, of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Policy, said her group had asked members of Congress to distribute the series to colleagues. Moore's office agreed last week, she said. The center still is seeking a senator to distribute the series in that chamber.
"It talked about individual human beings and their stories," Stephens said of the series. "It helped bring those stories into focus."
Both houses of Congress voted last fall against continued enforcement of the travel ban. That measure died under threat of a presidential veto, and President Bush has promised continued strict enforcement of the ban.