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Monday, December 21, 2009

Florida United States Senate Policy Forum on Cuba - Much Ado About The Same

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Sponsored by the pro-embargo Cuba "Democracy" PAC in Coral Gables, this forum is an exercise in politics and what $10 million buys you over eight congressional election cycles. Each candidate will present his views on the subject; Gov Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, the Republican contenders, and Rep. Kendrick Meek and Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, the Democratic contenders.
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What can we expect? Well if anything each candidate is vying for a donation and the maximum donation the PAC can give is $10,000; $5000 for the primary and $5000 for the general election. It should be a contest of who can be the biggest and baddest pro embargo hack, I mean politician...
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But maybe I will be wrong- will Messrs. Crist, Rubio, Ferre, and Meek answer the following questions honestly for the voters of Florida:
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Fifteen Questions on United States Cuba Relations A Prospective U.S. Senator from Florida should answer?
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1) Have you ever been to Cuba ?
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2) When was the last time you visited Cuba ?
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3) Do you have any relatives living in Cuba now?
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4) Were your family or relatives related to, or employed by, either Fidel Castro or Fulgencio Batista?
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[Some Cuban American legislators have family/political connections to Castro or Batista. Why must American foreign policy and the U.S. taxpayer fight their battle to settle their score with the Cuban government, especially when it has not worked in 50 years and has cost the taxpayer over One Billion dollars over the years? Diplomacy 101 – Do not shape foreign policy to settle a political score or for vengeance.]
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5) Do you accept campaign contributions from people or organizations who support the Cuban embargo?
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This is not illegal. But if you do, why do you accept contributions from these groups if you have not gone to Cuba for yourself to assess the policy as an elected official?
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6) Why would you support restricting Americans their right to travel to Cuba, when you have not visited the country yourself to evaluate the policy and the experience?
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-If you have not visited Cuba yet, why do you believe you do not have a responsibility to evaluate the impact of these restrictions and the embargo by personally visiting Cuba as an elected public official?
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7) How has the embargo been effective in bringing democracy to Cuba? If it has not been effective in bringing democracy to Cuba, why would you continue to support it?
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8) If Cuban Americans can now visit their family in Cuba with unlimited visits, why shouldn’t that freedom apply to all Americans? How does restricting and limiting people the right to visit and support their family and friends in Cuba support democratic change in Cuba ?
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9) How does the political and economic isolation and humiliation of Cuba through the embargo serve our national American interests?
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10) Do you believe with the reality that there are five million Cubans living on the island who have relatives residing here in the United States, that through normal travel, communication, and basic trade the Cuban people will benefit and be inspired to change things on their own in Cuba ?
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11) Why is it up to the United States to force Cuba to change into a democracy like us? What other countries do we do this to? What has been our track record and costs in imposing “regime change”? Isn't this something that the Cuban people should be doing themselves? Isn't it more powerful for the United States to be an influence for democracy in Cuba through our citizens, products, and services reaching the Cuban people while respecting their sovereignty as a foreign nation? Didn’t President Obamastate that we will not impose change on foreign countries?
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12) Why is Cuba one of the most expensive countries to call by telephone, averaging more than a dollar per minute in cost?- Will you be willing to support efforts to lower the cost of basic communication between the United States and Cuba by allowing and licensing telecommunications companies to negotiate with the Cuban government and telephone companies to reduce telephone call rates to make it more affordable to call Cuba? It will require the removal of Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terror List. Will you call upon the President to reassess this designation regarding Cuba?
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13) The Cuban government has stated publicly that it will arrest and jail any Cuban who receives money from the U.S. government for the purpose to subvert and overthrow their government. We may not like nor agree with the Cuban system of government. However, isn't U.S. government funding of dissidents in Cuba then tantamount to subjecting them to being arrested and jailed?
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14) We say we want political prisoners freed in Cuba now- why won't we negotiate with the Cuban government for their freedom then?
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15) Cuba is a haven for a number of American fugitives from justice - why won't we negotiate with the Cuban government to obtain their extradition?

1 Comments:

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