Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cuba Lobby Accomplishments - 6 Ways D.C. Decisions Affect Caribbean Region

Cuba Lobby Accomplishments: 6 Ways D.C. Decisions Affect Caribbean Region
By Lea Terry | Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 12:54 AM

The Cuba Lobby has long maintained an influence on Washington politics
and United States policy toward Cuba. This group of Cuban exiles, their
children, and others who oppose Cuba's Castro regime have been the
staunchest supporters of the embargo against Cuba established in the
1960s. Further, they've taken action to ensure the embargo stays in
place and that official U.S. policy continues to follow a hard-line
stance against Cuba, requiring the country to improve quality of life
for its citizens before lifting restrictions.

The following examples demonstrate the Cuba Lobby's influence on
Washington, D.C., and its effect on Cuba and the Caribbean country.

1. Cuban Democratic and Solidarity Act
This 1996 act, also called the Libertad Act and the Helms-Burton act,
required congressional approval before the embargo could be lifted,
Foreign Policy noted. Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Representative
Dan Burton (R-Ind.) authored the act.

2. Opposing the Appointment of Mario Baeza
Foreign Policy magazine noted that in 1993, the Cuba Lobby did not want
U.S. President Bill Clinton to appoint Mario Baeza assistant secretary
of state for inter-American affairs, because Baeza had visited Cuba.
Clinton withdrew his support of Baeza.

3. Blocking Renewed Diplomatic Relations
When U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize relations
with Cuba in 2014 and, in 2015, decided to remove the country from the
government's list of state sponsors of terrorism, members of the Cuba
Lobby quickly shot back. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed to block
President Obama's attempts to establish an embassy in Cuba and appoint
an ambassador, CNN reported.

4. Radio Marti
Foreign Policy also reported that the Cuba Lobby asked U.S. President
Ronald Reagan to create a media outlet to broadcast propaganda to Cuba.
Reagan established Radio Marti, which used Radio Free Europe as a model,
and U.S. President George H.W. Bush created TV Marti.

5. Campaign Contributions
According to Foreign Policy, the Cuba Lobby has also used financial
incentives to influence decisions, with the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC
contributing more than $3 million during five national elections.

6. Blocking Relaxation of Policies
Foreign Policy noted that Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), one of the
Cuba Lobby's congressional contingent, blocked a $410 billion
appropriations bill designed to keep the U.S. government running because
it loosened restrictions on Cuba such as travel limitations and the
requirement that Cuba pay in advance when buying from U.S. food
suppliers. Menendez finally agreed to the bill, but only after U.S.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner vowed in writing that Menendez would
be consulted regarding any policy change toward Cuba.

Source: Cuba Lobby Accomplishments: 6 Ways D.C. Decisions Affect
Caribbean Region -

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