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Posted April 26, 2006 by publisher in US Embargo

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BY LESLEY CLARK |  Miami Herald

President Bush defended his administration’s travel ban to Cuba on Monday, telling a Cuban American who suggested that visits to the island would topple Fidel Castro that ``trade with the country enables a tyrant to stay in power.’‘

The remarks came as Bush campaigned in California, urging Congress to revive a stalled immigration plan that would provide a means to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

The man who posed the question told Bush that he emigrated from Cuba as a 9-year-old, but wants to go home to ``see my front door that was bullet-riddled when they were fighting Batista’s guys.’‘

‘‘I don’t understand, how can we trade with Vietnam—we lost over 50,000 Americans there—how can we trade with communist China, we can’t even go to Cuba?’’ said the man, who was not identified by a White House transcript of the event at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine. ``And I think if the borders were opened up with Cuba and American enterprise got to go down there, I think Castro would fall like a rock off a cliff.’‘


The controversial travel ban—tightened in 2004 after complaints from Cuban Americans in Miami that the administration was not tough enough on Castro—cut family visits to Cuba by Cuban Americans from once a year to once every three years. Congressional critics have long tried to relax the travel ban and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry at the time criticized the move as harmful to families, saying he would encourage ‘‘principled travel’’ to the island.

Bush defended the ban, saying it was keeping money out of Castro’s hands.

‘‘Fidel Castro has got the capacity to arbitrage your dollars to the advantage of his administration,’’ Bush said. ``You pay in dollars, he pays in Cuban money and collects the difference. So you go to a hotel in Havana, the money goes to the hotel, which has kind of got a deal with the government in order to be there in the first place, and the workers get paid in a currency that’s worthless compared to the U.S. dollar. And he makes the balance.


‘‘And so, in all due respect, I have taken the position that trade with the country enables a tyrant to stay in power, as opposed to the opposite,’’ Bush said.

``Honest disagreement of opinion—I fully recognize—but that’s why I made the decision I made.’‘

Jake Colvin, director of USA*Engage, a coalition of groups opposed to unilateral sanctions, noted the remarks came days after Bush talked trade with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

‘‘A lot of U.S. money goes to bad people in a lot of regimes,’’ Colvin said. ``But despite what the president says, a U.S. presence there would be more a factor prompting democracy and human rights.’‘

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 26, 2006 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    With phrases like:

    “which has kind of got a deal with the government”


    “as opposed to the opposite”

    I just have to shake my head. Mind you I am a Republican but sadly not a proud one the last few years.

    Still no bin Laden.
    No weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
    Tightening of failed 40+ year old Plan A Embargo.
    Condi Rice as Secretary of State.

    Need I say more?

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 27, 2006 by Ralph

    Maybe you’re quite right,but why are supposed the americans wave a
    magic wand and bring more FREEDOM to the repressed cuban people?
    Look at the fact that for decades millions of latinamericans,canadians,
    europeans have been travelling to Cuba but they didn’t bring more FREEDOM
    to the cubans,but just more hard currency to the government,which year in
    an year out have increased the repression and policing every single act of
    the cubans,I have living in Europe for a decade and what i see is soft approach to the cuban government has yield nothing,but more repression,just
    look the embarrassment of the government of Spain in the european parliament,they have pushed for the dialogue and lift the sanctions and so on
    and now they just say the achievement has been like before,no changes,then
    all those ideas wich has been espoused for quite a while ago for leftist groups
    and others infiltrated areas by Castro Intelligence Service are full of it.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 28, 2006 by Bernie

    Castro is no different than other world leaders.

    Go ahead send, spend money to Cuba, it does help the citizens.
      So the goverment takes a bit of it, for their cut. What goverment
      doesn’t take from their citizens?

    Human Rights is a joke, all countries use this catch-all pharse.

    Freedom: is just a word, everybody abuses this word.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on April 29, 2006 by Ralph

    To GOD THANKS Human Rigths are not a joke, they are very seriously taken
    for a lot of people on Earth,but not for dictatorships and its cronies and Freedom is a Word,in spanish we say LIBERTAD,in Dutch we say Vrijheid,in
    French c’est la Liberté ,but in very single country,in very single human those
    words are an inner Fever,like strong feeling and many have died,are dying,
    and will die just for a little bit of IT.The bastardshumans,who are countless,
    they cannot feel what’s Freedom is all about.Long Live forever Freedom,

  5. Follow up post #5 added on May 02, 2006 by MiamiCuban

    I agree with Bernie.  All governments take from their citizens in the form of taxes and such.  Don’t we pay taxes to the government so they can fund our social programs?  With respect to Cuba, whatever money the government takes in DOES IN FACT filter down to the people.  Giving free education and medical care to over $11 million citizens takes money and an overall dedication to improving the lives of Cubans.  All those who say we shouldn’t send money to Cuba or travel there, are in actuality robbing from Cuban citizens themselves.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on May 03, 2006 by Ralph

    Not even as a joke,i can support what i read above.Chums,cronies,naives,

  7. Follow up post #7 added on May 04, 2006 by Ralph

    Tomorrow is in Holland the “Vrijheid Dag” or Independence Day as an anglo
    would say and you can see the Fever of the People on the streets,a genuine
    Human Feeling,B/C that is LIBERTAD in the Vast Majority of Humans a Feat,a
    Fever that makes you better and as at now I remind me of the song of Chirino
    which states truly a simple thing “Libertad,el que No la Tiene,No tiene na,que
    Viva La Libertad” Oh boy, longlive to you,FREEDOM..+

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