Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
State Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, cooked up a half-baked scheme to restrict travel by Floridians to Cuba. Fortunately, the measure died a quiet death last week in the Senate Commerce and Consumer Services Committee.
The bill would have denied state and federal benefits to Cubans who returned to their homeland within three years of coming to Florida. Charter flights also would have been taxed heavily.
But, as Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, asked, “Why punish the families versus the Cuban government? What if you have an elderly grandmother . . . or a sick relative?”
Rivera succeeded in getting President Bush’s attention during the 2004 re-election when he and other Cuban-American political leaders from Miami-Dade County challenged the president’s commitment to taking a hard-line on shaping the administration’s policies toward the island nation.
True to form, his bill would have reinforced a failed foreign policy toward Cuba. The initiative to further isolate Cuba would have distanced the United States even further from the 11 million-plus Cubans who ultimately will decide what direction a post-Castro Cuba takes. A policy of engagement would be a far better option.
The bill also raised constitutional questions. No other state has tried, or should try, to dictate where Americans can travel. Those decisions should remain with the federal government.