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Posted October 20, 2005 by publisher in US Embargo

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LAWG email update
Well, the news is not good. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), at about 3:30 this afternoon, withdrew his Cuba travel amendment. He withdrew it because of a procedural maneuver on the part of the anti-engagement forces.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV), at the very last moment, offered what is called a Second Degree Amendment to Senator Dorgan’s amendment. The anti-engagement forces knew that Senator Dorgan’s travel amendment would pass—overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support. So, instead of engaging in a democratic debate on the floor of the Senate (no one spoke against the Dorgan amendment when it was offered), and instead of allowing a clean up-and-down vote on a relevant amendment to an appropriations bill, they resorted to an undemocratic and nasty procedural move.

The Ensign 2nd Degree Amendment was not germane to the issue, and it should have fallen to a point of order because it was legislating on an appropriations bill. But, the amendment he chose muddied the waters and put many senators from both parties in a difficult position. His amendment’s stated purpose was “to prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions.” Unbelievable, isn’t it!

So, rather than have his amendment pass with this secondary amendment attached to it, Senator Dorgan withdrew the travel amendment. Here is a paraphrase of a few of his comments, as he withdrew:

Dorgan:  I am withdrawing my amendment, one that is germane and relevant . . . The reason I am withdrawing my amendment is because a fellow senator submitted a second degree amendment to mine dealing with abortion . . . The use of a second degree amendment on abortion is unbelievable. Procedurally legal, but unbelievable . . . Elementary and high school students should all be watching today to see how politics really works . . .

There are more people and more money dedicated to tracking illegal travel to Cuba than there is money used for tracking illegal activities by Al Qaeda agents. This hardly seems to be a good use of our country’s resources . . .

This is just a small setback in our efforts. We have won on this issue in the past and we will win again in the future. Someday we will win and it will not be undemocratically stripped in conference. The will of the United States people will prevail.  End of Paraphrase.

We are very disappointed and frustrated at the lack of democratic process in dealing with Cuba policy issues in this Congress and by this Administration. We encourage you to protest to your senators. The Second Degree Amendment should have been declared out of order; a vote on the travel amendment should have happened; and it would have passed.

Where do we go from here? Well, we gather our forces, our sense of what is right, and we continue the struggle. We’ll get back to you with some next steps.

Thanks for all you do! Many of you made calls and sent emails. We need to keep raising our voices. We have had a rough year (Cuba policy, and lots more), but Senator Dorgan is right. One day we will succeed in changing this policy and ending the embargo—democratically through the conference process. For now, we have to continue our efforts with the same fervor and intensity to make sure that we are ready when that day comes. Diminishing our efforts now would mean yielding a piece of our progress to the opposition. That we won’t do.


Mavis Anderson
Claire Rodriguez
Latin America Working Group

  1. Follow up post #1 added on October 20, 2005 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Hmmm, I wonder if Senator John Ensign (R-NV) gets any money from the Cuban American National Foundation or other FAR FAR right wing block heads.

    Can we please have an original thought from the Republicans on US Cuba policy? Just one original thought besides killing American freedom to travel?

    Why doesn’t President Bush float the trial balloon about invading Cuba? I know why, people would run him out of office.

    Open letter to President Bush and his hacks in Congress: I am a Republican but you embarrass me with your closed minded, anti-forward looking attitude. Do you realize how far the US is going to swing to the left in 2008?

    An appropriate quote from President Bush at this time might be ...“History will absolve me”. Wouldn’t that be ironic!

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on October 21, 2005 by crp236 with 25 total posts

    There are two key words in this report: undemocratic and nasty. That describes very well the nature of the Miami extremist crowd. Their type of “democracy” is of the Batista type. 

  3. Follow up post #3 added on October 22, 2005 by jesusp with 246 total posts

    History will definitely NOT absolve Mr. Bush!

  4. Follow up post #4 added on October 26, 2005 by redwood with 18 total posts

    I don’t see why the Democrats are opposed to parental notification.  All this bs outrage about a “2d degree” amendment is just a smoke screen for the fact that on “women’” issues Democrats are tied to feminists. 

    There may be a few teenagers who desparately turn to back alley abortions rather than tell their parents that they need an abortion.  Indeed, there may even be some wretched parents who then force their adolescent to get a back alley abortion. But what the feminist are worried about is the “erosion” of Roe, not the reality of familial relations.  Most parents want what is best for their children. 

    Moreover, if we substantially hold the parents responsible, liable, for the actions of their teenagers, as we do, then I should think that parents have to right to be part of a decision that will imply even more liability for them. 

    And as policy, there’ no reason to think that parents will not try to do what is best for their children.  But by taking parents out of the decision, we say the state knows better.  wrong. 

    The Democrats persistent none adjusted behaviour on this issue betrays their ideological bankrupcy. This would have been a perfect opportunity to begin distinquishing themselves from Republicans on our relations with other nations while driving a wedge in the red states. 

    My party sucks.

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