Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cuba Libre-- Congress Opens It Up... A Bit


I bet you didn't know that Congress drastically changed U.S. policy towards Cuba in the last couple weeks. I read every bill that Congress votes on and I didn't know until I read about it this morning in the BBC's World News America: U.S. Congress Eases Curbs On Cuba. Turns out it was slipped into that Omnibus Appropriations Act that passed the House on February 25 and the Senate last night (by voice vote/no fingerprints).
Cuban-Americans will be allowed to travel to the island once a year and send more money to relatives there.

Curbs on sending medicines and food have also been eased.

...The legislation overturns rules imposed by the Bush administration which limited travel to just two weeks every three years, and confined visits to immediate family members.

President Obama - who needs to sign the bill-- has said he supports it.

He has also indicated that he would be open to dialogue with Cuba's leaders.

A couple of Democratic senators-- Menendez (NJ) and Nelson (FL)-- were opposed until Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner assured "them that the measure does not change rules that required payment in advance of imports of U.S. food and medicine. He also assured them that another provision regarding business travel to market such exports will not open a loophole easing travel to Cuba."

Cuba is happy. The rest of Latin America is happy. American world travelers and vacationers are happy. But what about the GOP cold warriors? Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a lunatic fringe Florida congressman who fancies himself the next president of Cuba, along with his slower bother Mario and their two hackish gal-pals, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, made some ritualistic anti-Cuban noises for the benefit of what's left of their South Florida reactionary hardliner base, but no one paid any attention to these 4 clowns. And that was that. About time!



At 3:55 PM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

The US/Cuban policies are the only reason that Fidel Castro has been able to stay in the leadership for longer than any other leader, I believe, in the history of the world.

When a country is threatened by another country, they will ALWAYS rally behind their current leader.

Stupid US policy has been a boon to Castro. Besides, eight years of Fidel running the US would have caused far less damage than that caused by that miserable piece of shit that inhabited the White House for the past eight years.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never understood why we have basically let China buy stock in The U.S. yet have held a grudge against Cuba since 1959. I hope Obama can bring some sanity to it all.

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post was not very clear on this, but are there restrictions on who can travel to Cuba? Must Americans have to prove that they have 'close' family members living in Cuba before they can travel there?

Gees, one of these days you guys are going to have a government that actually treats you like adults, with rights.


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