Christopher Dodd, Barack Obama and fifteen other senators signed a letter on March 8, 2006 to Secretary of Treasury Snow expressing concern about restrictions on travel by religious organizations.
Over the past several months, we have become aware that a number of long-established national U.S. religious institutions, who in the past have received licenses from the Office of Foreign Asset Control allowing them regular travel to Cuba to develop and maintain relations with church counterparts there, are now suddenly being denied their licenses for
reasons that do not appear well-founded. We are disturbed that OFAC appears to be defining what is and is not a religious organization -- in itself a precarious role for a U.S. Government agency -- and that its operating definition appears to be prejudiced against recognized, mainstream national religious institutions....
We understand the complicated political reality that exists between the United States and Cuban governments. However, we believe it is inappropriate and unacceptable for politics and government to serve as a hurdle and now as a barrier to faith-based connections between individuals. If anything, these connections foster greater religious
freedom in Cuba and contribute to a severely-lacking free-flowing exchange of ideas between the two countries.
James M. Jeffords