Tuesday, August 24, 2010

U.S. Considering Changing Cuba Policy?

U.S. Considering Changing Cuba Policy?

The practically non-existent relationship between the Cuba and the
United States is the last vestige of the Cold War.

Now there's some indication that the Obama Administration may loosen
restrictions that curbed the visits of U.S. citizens to Cuba.

In fact, the House has crafted a bill that could lift the travel and
trade embargo that the U.S. erected nearly 50 years ago to try to bring
the communist regime to its knees.

"What we've done doesn't work, and it's clear that it doesn't work, so
we need to try something new," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who
traveled to Cuba last year as a part of a Congressional Black Caucus
delegation trip. "This is a way to infiltrate Cuba and change the system

Cleaver said just infusing Cuba with more Americans and U.S. dollars
could evoke change.

"The more U.S. citizens (are) going into Cuba, whether they are going in
as farmers selling their goods or as tourists, the better off the Cubans
will be," Cleaver said.

But the idea of lifting the embargo doesn't sit well with many
lawmakers. Especially those from south Florida.

"All that's going to do is empower and embolden Castro and the Castro
brothers," said Rep. Connie Mack Jr., R-Fla., a member of the House
Foreign Affairs Committee. "None of the resources get back to the people
of Cuba. It's all held by Castro and his brother."

Mack would prefer U.S. apply pressure on the Cuban government. The
Congressman criticized Congressional Democrats for stalling free trade
pacts with Panama and Colombia that he thinks would help boost U.S.
interests in the region.

"Opening up trade and travel to Cuba will only destroy what little
freedoms that they may have, which are almost none. It'll destroy what
they do have," Mack said.

But this isn't a party line issue. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was born
to Cuban parents and denounced a potential change in policy.

"This is not the time to ease pressure on the Castro regime," Menendez
said in a statement. He added that a "much needed infusion of dollars
that will only allow the Castro brothers to extend their reign of

For his part, Cleaver questions those who want to maintain America's
Cuba policy, yet turn the other way when the U.S. deals with other
communist nations."The operative word here is hypocrisy," Cleaver said.
"We have no problem not only dealing with China but borrowing billions
of dollars from China. It is a communist regime. They have committed all
kinds of human rights violations."

The House bill has cleared the Agriculture Committee, but has not yet
gone to the floor. There is a chance that the Obama administration could
make an announcement on Cuba by the end of the week.


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