Congressman Tom Rooney, a Republican representing Florida's 16th District, has an excellent article published in The Caller detailing why removing the travel ban to Cuba would be a blow against human rights. Here's a portion of that article:
...According to a 2008 State Department report, Castro’s regime was holding at least 205 political prisoners at the end of that year, and as many as 5,000 citizens served sentences without ever being charged with a specific crime. Just a few months ago, political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after an 86-day hunger strike. And today, American citizen Alan Gross is being held prisoner without charges for his efforts to help the Cuban people use the Internet.
Unfortunately, the bill before the Agriculture Committee, on which I serve, would lift the travel ban on Cuba without any human rights concessions. The bill would open up relations with a regime that routinely imprisons journalists and citizens who disagree with their government. This would send mixed messages about our commitment to the brave pro-democracy movement in Cuba.
Lifting the travel ban would inject millions of dollars into the Cuban government at a time when the Castro regime is on the ropes. Cuba’s foreign trade declined by a third in the last year, the country is several billion dollars in debt to sovereign lenders, and its economic crisis is putting Castro’s rule in jeopardy.
Why would we lift the travel ban and let American tourism dollars prop up the Castro regime? At this juncture, lifting the ban would amount to yet another bailout – only this time, we’d be bailing out a brutal dictatorship on the brink of collapsing.
Every dollar spent by American tourists in Cuba would contribute to the regime’s bottom line, providing resources for Castro’s army, his secret police and his political prisons. The State Department lists Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and reports that the regime not only has close ties with Iran and North Korea, it also provides safe haven for terrorists from around the world. Opening Cuba to travel would jeopardize national security by allowing American tourism dollars to finance state-sponsored terror and help provide refuge to terrorists...