Posted November 13, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
Dear Cuba Policy Advocates:
It is time to protest! Last night, behind closed doors and without giving
an opportunity for the full conference committee to vote, Republican
leadership stripped the Cuba travel amendment from the FY04
Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill. This is a travesty.
Last month, the Senate voted 59-36 to include an amendment that would
eliminate funding for the enforcement of the Cuba travel ban. The
House included the identical amendment in September by a vote of 227-188. In a further show of strong Senate bipartisan support for ending the travel ban, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill, S. 950, to lift the Cuba travel ban entirely, by a vote of 13-5.
The purpose of a conference committee is to reconcile differences
between the House and Senate versions of a particular bill. The margins of
support on the issue of travel to Cuba reflected a clear and undeniable
statement of policy intent by Congress.
Since both Houses of Congress passed the same amendment, there was nothing for the conferees to reconcile. Please see the LAWG press release below for further statements.
ACTION 1: Call your two senators and your representative to loudly
this subversion of democracy. Talking points:
* Polls show that the American people want the travel ban to Cuba to
* It is the bipartisan will of the Congress that the travel ban end.
* It would benefit the Cuban people for the travel ban to end.
* The White House and the Republican leadership should not have the
remove the amendment against the will of the people and of the
* This is an undemocratic action. We protest.
The US Capitol Switchboard number is 202.224.3121, or look your member
the internet at [url=http://www.house.gov]http://www.house.gov[/url] or [url=http://www.senate.gov]http://www.senate.gov[/url] You can also try a
free line to the Capitol Switchboard, but it is often busy:
If the switchboard is busy when you call, please try to reach your
directly by phone, fax, or email.
ACTION 2: Contact President Bush to protest pandering to Florida
votes. Same talking points.
White House Comment Mail Web:
Mailing address: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Thanks for all you do with us to end the embargo on Cuba. We’ll keep
informed about what happens next. Supporters of the Cuba travel
have said that if the conferees produced a conference report that
their amendment, they would consider all parliamentary options
them to respond to that eventuality. The final word may not have been
See our press release below.
Latin America Working Group
P.S. Support our efforts to forge a new US policy towards Cuba by
contributing to the Latin America Working Group! Only with your help
keep providing the resources and information to build a better foreign
policy. Give online at
http://www.lawg.org/pages/new%20pages/Misc/Donations.htm (if the link
doesn’t work, please cut and paste into your browser), or send a
LAWG, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Box 15, Washington, DC 20002 (for a
tax-deductible donation, give to the LAWG Education Fund). Thanks!
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Leadership Strips Cuba Travel Amendment Against the Will of Congress
For immediate release
Contact: Mavis Anderson, Philip Schmidt, 202-546-7010
Latin America Working Group
In a move that defies the will of both chambers of Congress, the
congressional leadership last night stripped out an amendment from the
Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill that would have allowed
to Cuba. The move came during the conference committee on the bill
closed doors, provoking outrage among groups and individuals across the
nation that have been working to end the counterproductive travel ban.
Senate voted 59-36 to adopt the amendment while the House voted
the fourth consecutive year. In the most egregious twist, sources on
Hill said that the Cuba provision was stripped out before the conferees
formally met, so there was no opportunity for them to vote on whether
to remove it.
“We believe that stripping out this amendment behind closed doors casts
doubts on the merits of our democracy at a time when the embargo is
purported to encourage democracy in Cuba. What kind of a message does
send?” asked Mavis Anderson, Senior Associate at the Latin America
Going into the conference committee, many of the legislators who had
to pass the amendment urged their colleagues to respect the will of
and retain the provisions. In a statement last week, Senator Max Baucus
(D-MT) said “Suspending enforcement of the Cuba travel ban passed the
by a wide bipartisan margin and passed the House by a wide bipartisan
margin. There is absolutely no reason the provision should be removed
the Treasury-Transportation Appropriations bill. To do so would be a
act against the will of a majority of Congress and majority of
Pressure from a White House—eying Florida’s electoral votes—was cited
congressional leaders as the reason for the change. “It’s clear that
White House isn’t listening to the will of the majority of Americans,
support ending these senseless restrictions,” said Philip Schmidt from
Latin America Working Group. “The administration believes that gaining
votes in Florida is worth angering a broad section of the rest of the
nation. This thinking could backfire on them.”
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