U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent three letters today to the State Department, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Miami-Dade County Health Department asking that these agencies post travel warnings on their respective websites. Ros-Lehtinen is also requesting that OFAC notify all holders of Cuba travel licenses about the cholera outbreak in Cuba and the potential risk to travelers. Click here for copies of the letters. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Regardless of the attempts by the Castro regime to ignore the cholera outbreak, there is no denying that cholera is spreading throughout Cuba. This is a serious health problem for Cubans, but also for the U.S. because of the heavy stream of travelers between both nations. The Cuban regime, unlike other countries with cholera cases, is secretive, deceitful and uncooperative with international health officials.
"The State Department has a responsibility to warn U.S. travelers about the danger to nations with an outbreak such as cholera and I expect them to do so.
"Cholera is able to spread throughout Cuba due to the Castro regime's utter failure in areas such as sanitation and a badly deteriorated infrastructure where broken and rusted water pipes are the norm.
"Lives have already been lost in Cuba because of the regime's policy of keeping these issues in the dark so as to not scare away tourists and their hard currencies. If this outbreak worsens, it will be another hardship brought upon the Cuban people by the backward policies of the Castro dictatorship."