United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2011

United States Cuba Policy - The Diaz-Balart Washington DC Two Step

All of us who work so tirelessly to lift the United States travel ban toward Cuba; to remove Cuba from the list of terrorist countries; who seek justice for The Cuba Five;  and who want to enhance United States/Cuba relations in general;  should not be dispirited because of Mario Diaz-Balart’s Amendment to the Treasury Appropriations Bill last week.  As we all know, the amendment basically turns the clock back to the provisions regarding travel to Cuba in the last Bush Administration.  

We must not confuse the “cheese and the trap.”  A mediocre Congressman like Mario Diaz-Balart and his cabal, David Rivera, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are doing nothing more than the famous “Washington two-step.”  This action by Diaz–Balart and his cohorts was expected, predicted, and at the end of the day, means nothing.  That provision will not pass the Congress.  Repeat, that provision will not pass the Congress.  We play into our opponents’ hands if we make a big deal of this action.  Then at the conclusion of this Congress, when it does not pass, it will appear we have accomplished something, when in reality, we have just wasted time and energy.

Where should we be focusing our attention? We need to continue to communicate with The White House, the State Department and OFAC.  We must strongly express our great disappointment with them and our “friends” in the Congress.  In addition, where we can, we must find a way to raise money for the political campaigns of our “friends”.  Our “friends” in the Congress, The White House, the State Department and OFAC need to know, that we know, they are doing nothing of substance to enhance US/Cuba relations nor to meaningfully lift the travel ban.  If we are intellectually honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that a mediocre Congressman like Mario Diaz-Balart, is not the problem. Our problem is our “friends” who do not fight for us with the enthusiasm that is needed to succeed.

Let us speak with one voice and get our “friends” to stop making statements that sound good, but in reality, accomplish nothing. - Albert A. Fox, Jr.

Editor's Note: Albert A. Fox Jr. is an expert on U.S. Congressional politics and procedure with more than four decades of experience and is a former Congressional candidate himself.   Mr. Fox is also Chairman of the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy.