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Posted July 27, 2004 by publisher in US Embargo

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BY BILL DELAHUNT | Summarized from The Miami Herald | [url=http://www.granma.cu]http://www.granma.cu[/url]

Divert resources from antiterrorism investigations, mandate burdensome government paperwork and forbid families from helping—or even seeing their relatives. That’s the new U.S. policy toward
Cuba.

As if four decades of a failed embargo were not enough, the White House just made matters breathtakingly worse. To demonstrate its disdain for Fidel Castro to Florida’s hard-line exiles, the White House will now punish those most critical to the future stability of post-Castro Cuba: the moderate Cuban-American community.

The Bush administration recently announced a battery of provocative steps to undermine the Cuban government, but the real impact—like the existing travel ban—is mainly on U.S. citizens.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the tightened restrictions on, of all people, Cuban Americans. Until now, they could travel to the island annually and without hassle. The tears of joy at Havana’s Jose Mart Airport, as relatives from across the Florida Straits are reunited, are profound testament to the deep devotion of the Cuban people to the sanctity of the family—and to the hope for a day when the only obstacle to family reunions would be the 40-minute flight.

That spirit now is apparently contrary to U.S. foreign policy. The new rules permit Cuban Americans to visit the island once every three years—and then only if they can get a license to travel from the Treasury Department.

On top of that, the White House has also restricted remittances. Under the changes, Americans are permitted to send cash only to a Cuban child, parent, sibling or grandparent—but not to cousins or nephews.

As foreign policy, this further undercuts the most effective force for democracy in Cuba: direct exchanges between ordinary Cubans and ordinary Americans, especially Cuban Americans. As domestic policy, it creates an expensive mandate for the federal ‘‘travel police’’ to enforce the new rules. And as politics, it subordinates all else to a single electoral imperative: pandering to a shrinking and increasingly fringe element in South Florida.

Never mind that the federal agency responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden’s assets wastes 20 percent of its resources on prosecuting U.S. citizens who travel—often innocently, sometimes legally—to Cuba. Or that we can spare military aircraft to beam propaganda into Cuba but can’t find a dime to help starving Haitians a few miles away. Or that the new rules come only a few months after both the House and Senate voted, by large bipartisan majorities, to lift the travel ban altogether.

The new Cuba rules are a cold, poll-driven calculation that has less to do with democracy-building in Havana than with vote-counting in Miami.

This is, however, a miscalculation. It will not break Castro’s resolve. It will do nothing to offer help to those in need in Cuba.

In announcing the changes, Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega said that our goal is to “liberate the Cuban people from . . . dependence on international charity.’‘

For a Cuban American, returning to the island for a brother’s funeral or sending money to a needy aunt is not international charity; it is honoring the most fundamental of family values. To crack down on these familial responsibilities does nothing to advance U.S.
interests.

*U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., serves on the House Committee on International Relations and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Cuba Working Group.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on July 27, 2004 by I-taoist with 213 total posts

    Kudos to Rep. Bill Delahunt.  His voice of reason and logic contrasts markedly with the strident, hate and fear filled rhetoric of George Bush and his administration. It is truly shameful to see such a great man as Colin Powell forced into supporting this short-sighted and cruel new policy.  History will record these new unconstitutional regulations as a watershed moment of misguided foreign policy that results in undermining the very extremists who spawned them. 


  2. Follow up post #2 added on July 28, 2004 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Havana Journal is a Massachusetts based corporation located in Representative Delahunt’ district.

    We are happy to have him represent our interests.



    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on July 29, 2004 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    It now turns out the the driving force behind the new restrictions imposed by Bush stem from former policy advisors of former Senator Jessie Helms (R-NC):

    “The strategy was drafted largely by administration officials who were once aides to Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, now retired, the author of hotly contested anti-Castro legislation enacted a decade ago. It was thought that the policy would appeal to longtime exiles with few family ties to Cuba and a deep-seated desire to eliminate the Castro government. Such people voted for Mr. Bush by more than four to one in 2000, pollsters say.”

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?tntget=2004/07/29/politics/29cuba.html&tntemail0;

    So the spirit of the cruel Helms-Burton Act lives on.  But now it comes with a political consequence. 


  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 09, 2004 by daniel cabrera

    JUST LIKE MOST SOUTH FLORIDA CUBANS MY FAMILY AND I VOTED         FOR YOU MR BUSH IN 2000. AND FOR YOUR FATHER IN 88 AND 92 BUT YOU WANT TO HURT OUR FAMILY WITH YOUR ANTI CUBAN POLICY MY FAMILY NEEDS ME PLEASE UNTIE MY HANDS YOU HAVE PROVOKED ANGER IN THE CUBAN COMMUNITY DON’T WAIT FOR NOVEMBER TO FIND OUT  


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