South Carolina US Rep. Mark Sanford will be one of just three Republicans going to Cuba with President Barack Obama and other Democratic members of Congress next week.
The congressman told the Charleston Post and Courier Tuesday of his decision to take part of the “historic” delegation, which comes after he had spent a large part of his congressional career trying to end the travel ban between the two countries. “I have long believed that Americans should have the right to travel to Cuba and wherever they so choose,” he told the newspaper.
Sanford is not the only GOP member going to Cuba. U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota will be accompanying the President, as well, in addition to dozens of Democratic lawmakers. Most Republicans in the House say Cuba must scale back human rights abuses before they would support normalized relations.
The Obama Administration has announced plans for up to 110 non-stop flights daily between the United States and Cuba. The Commerce and Treasury Departments have also unveiled their own policies they hope normalize U.S.-Cuba relations and encourage educational visits.