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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Support of Current U.S.- Cuba Policy Misguided - Grassroots Excellence

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In the Fairfax Times, a Washington DC area newspaper, there is an excellent letter to the editor, an open letter addressed to Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-Va) from one of his constituents, Daniel Rubiera Zim. This constituent and voter took the time to challenge his Congressman's ignorance and hypocrisy. He empowers the Congressman to actually learn something about the issue which the Congressman obviously does not know and whose actions were motivated by a campaign check from the embargo PAC.
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Note to Congressman Connolly - Sir, maybe its time to actually learn about this issue firsthand. Yes, we all want improved human rights in Cuba. But travel restrictions on your fellow Americans and an embargo do not create the conditions to achieve that noble objective. Maybe you ought to travel with some of your constituents who have family in Cuba or the Virginia farmers and food businesses who are selling to Cuba right now and experience the realities of this misguided policy and violation on all of us. - TM
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Here is the letter:
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Open letter to U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Dist. 11):
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As the son of a Cuban immigrant and a constituent of the 11th District of Virginia who voted in favor of your candidacy in 2008, I was very surprised to see that you co-signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 3 supporting the current failed U.S. policy toward Cuba. As a supportive constituent, I was equally disturbed to learn that you received $2,000 in campaign donations from the ultra-conservative U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC that supports our country's five-decade-old blockade of Cuba which has only caused hardship and misery upon the Cuban people and has not succeeded in getting the Castro brothers to reform Cuba's communist system or relinquish power. On the contrary, America's counterproductive policy has emboldened them and perpetuated their continued iron-fisted control of the island.
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I was also disappointed to see the drafters of this letter so clearly misrepresent President Barack Obama's policy vis-a-vis Cuba. The drafters mislead Speaker Pelosi by claiming that "President Obama has demonstrated his support for the remaining sanctions." In truth, Obama has publicly favored a policy of constructive engagement with the Cuban government. He has liberalized travel restrictions and recommenced diplomatic discussions with Cuban officials. Obama has also taken steps to alleviate tension with Cuba by turning off a sign atop the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana that used to display anti-government messages, and by arresting and prosecuting Luis Posada-Carrilles, the alleged mastermind behind the bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner that claimed 76 innocent lives in 1976. It is, therefore, deceptive to claim that Obama supports the current sanctions policy against Cuba.
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In order to support positive democratic change in Cuba, I hope you will:
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(1) return the funds you received from the ultra-rightist U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC;
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(2) un-sign your signature from the Nov. 3 letter; and
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(3) become a co-sponsor of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (HR 874) which currently has 179 co-sponsors in the House and 33 in the Senate.
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The position that I espouse is more in tune with the views of your constituency and the American public at large which, according to polling data, overwhelmingly favors an end of the embargo and the travel ban.
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Daniel Rubiera Zim, Vienna

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