|

Friday, July 9, 2010

U.S. Cuba Relations – Flowers Grow in a Garden, Not a Desert

With the flurry of activity in the last week, positive encouraging developments should galvanize U.S. Cuba relations to further progress:
.
- The House Agriculture Committee reported favorably to the House, HR. 4645. And despite the ruminations that the bill must go to other committees, it is within the discretion of the Speaker and the House Rules Committee to take this legislation up to the full House. As we have reported previously, all House committees having jurisdiction on this legislation have held hearings on the issue in the 111th Congress. Embargo PAC congressmen will still try to hold the legislation up or seek ways to defeat the measure. We note that several times in the past when the travel ban had actually been lifted by the Congress, efforts by pro-embargo Congressmen resulted in the removal of that language. The most egregious example occurred in December 2003, when both the Senate and the House agreed to lift the travel ban and somehow the language disappeared from the final version that was submitted to President George W. Bush!
.
.
-Thanks to the efforts of the Catholic Church and the Spanish government, negotiations with the Cuban government have resulted in the release of 52 political prisoners.
.
-Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who supports lifting travel and trade restrictions, has ended his hunger strike. This relaxation of tension and tilling of the soil by Cuba should help spur efforts to ease travel restrictions. However, the fight is far from over.

The embargo PAC will continue to give checks out:
.
– watch the money being donated now to Congressional members. We still point out that if travel restrictions and the embargo were such great ideas, why must a wealthy hardline Cuban American minority of less than 5000 individuals constantly raise a million dollars or more every election cycle to perpetuate a flawed and failed policy?
.
Then there is the current case of the U.S. Russian spy exchange. This demonstrates that where there is political will and dialogue at the highest levels of government, a prompt resolution of sensitive issues is possible. The key to dramatically improving relations between both countries is in the resolution of outstanding humanitarian issues that presently exist. We want Alan Gross freed. We want U.S. fugitives living in Cuba detained and extradited. We want all political prisoners freed. Cuba wants the return of the Cuban Five. Will there be an exchange in the future? Certainly, one can only hope that serious negotiations will occur.
.
Even with the improved situation, pro-embargo forces will still continue to block and stifle any effort to improve the situation. Cuban Americans who represent the majority must step up to help educate and empower the Congress to finally do the right thing and end this failed policy. Listen to the people, not the money…All Americans who want to travel to Cuba freely must send that message to their Senators and Representative. Lets hope our country tills the soil in the garden now and plants the seed of unrestricted travel and easier trade with our neighbor 90 miles from Florida.

0 Comments: