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Posted March 23, 2004 by publisher in US Embargo

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BRENDAN FARRINGTON | Associated Press

MIAMI - Republican Senate candidate Bill McCollum wants to send undercover agents disguised as tourists into Cuba and wants to change U.S. policy so that no one fleeing the communist country has to be returned, he announced Monday.

McCollum said he supports an embargo of Cuba as strong as the one that helped end South Africa’s white minority apartheid rule, but said that the United States has to look at other options since that hasn’t been achieved.
“With agents under cover as foreign tourists, liaisons can be developed inside Cuba that can provide valuable information, prepare for a post-Castro Cuba and help undermine the Castro regime,” McCollum said in an outline of his proposed Cuba policy.

But rival Mel Martinez, a former member of President Bush’s Cabinet who was born in Cuba, questioned the wisdom of openly talking about plans for covert missions.

“It’s not something that would be unique or novel, but it’s not something that ought to be discussed because it would jeopardize potential success of the missions,” Martinez said, adding that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on his knowledge of espionage in Cuba.

McCollum announced his policy during a Miami news conference. The proposal also detailed a plan to end the wet foot-dry foot policy implemented by President Clinton that calls for Cubans found at sea to be returned to the communist island while those who make it to shore remain in the United States. McCollum said that Cubans found at sea could be held at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before being allowed into the country or relocated to a third country.

Opposition to the wet foot-dry foot policy and calls for tougher sanctions against Cuba are not unique to the campaign. Republican Larry Klayman has even called for removing Cuban dictator Fidel Castro by force.

“I would first try to negotiate a worldwide economic embargo, a real embargo like we had in South Africa,” Klayman said in an interview before McCollum’s announcement. “Let’s try that. If that doesn’t work, yes, force if necessary. Cubans are asking themselves the question, why can we liberate Iraq and we don’t liberate Cuba?”

Among the Democrats, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas is a first generation Cuban-American who has also called for a change in the wet foot-dry foot policy, saying freedom should not be based on one’s ability to swim.

Martinez said he welcomed McCollum’s position paper on Cuba, adding that he hopes Cuba policy plays a prominent role in the campaign.

“It’s an important discussion to have,” said Martinez, who was 15 when he arrived from Cuba without his parents. “Anything you want to know about Cuba, I can talk to you about it. I can’t imagine anyone that would have any more passion. I suffered it in my own bones. I’ve had school mates that have been in Cuban prisons and have talked to them about their experience.”

Other Republicans running for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Bob Graham include state Sen. Daniel Webster, House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith and Miami businessman Doug Gallagher.

Other Democrats include U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch and former Education Commissioner Betty Castor.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on November 20, 2004 by jo anna canzoneri

    I PERSONALLY AS AN AMERICAN NATURAL BORN CITIZEN OF THE UNITED
    STATES OF AMERICA.  I PERSONALLY WOULD LIKE TO INFORM AND ADVISE
    OF MY (JO ANNA CANZONERI) PERSONAL COMPLAINT AND WOULD LIKE TO
    START IMPEACHMENT PROCESS ON HILIDARY RODHAM CLINTON.
    I PERSONALLY SENT A LETTER AND EVIDENCE ON OR ABOUT 1996 OR 1998 TO JANET RENO AT THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REQUESTING FOR IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT AND FULL INVESTIGATION ON FRAUD.
    MRS. CLINTON PERSONALLY HAD A PROMISE FOR A OFFICE IF SHE RAN FOR THE US SENATERS AND CONGRESS
    PLEASE SEND ME YOUR E MAIL ADDRESS SO THAT I CAN PERSONALLY
    SEND YOU THE EVENTS OF CRIME,ATTEMPTED MURDER,CRIMINAL CASE
    THANK YOU


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