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The Collide on Cuba

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  • Walter Lippmann
    CIGAR AFICIANADO The Collide on Cuba Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003 By Michael Moretti The House of Representatives and the Senate are seeking to make travel
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2003
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      CIGAR AFICIANADO
      The Collide on Cuba

      Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003

      By Michael Moretti

      The House of Representatives and the Senate are seeking to
      make travel to Cuba easier despite strong opposition from
      the White House.

      Last week, the Senate voted 59 to 36 to ease the
      long-standing travel restrictions on Americans as part of a
      $90 billion spending bill for the Treasury and
      Transportation departments. This follows the House approval
      of essentially identical legislation last month.

      Both decisions fly in the face of President Bush's pledge
      to intensify restrictions on Cuba in an effort to root out
      illegal tourism and increase pressure on Cuba President
      Fidel Castro. The White House has threatened to veto the
      entire bill unless the travel component is omitted.

      One of the amendment's co-sponsors, Sen. Michael B. Enzi
      (R-Wyoming), is quoted in a New York Times article as
      saying, "Unilateral sanctions stop not just the flow of
      goods, but the flow of ideasÂ… Ideas of freedom and
      democracy are the keys to positive change."

      Opponents of the restrictions, many of whom represent
      states that want to sell agricultural and other products to
      Cuba, said the constraints hurt the United States more than
      Cuba and help Castro by enabling him to blame the United
      States for his country's problems, according to an article
      in The Washington Post.

      Bush states that American dollars going to Cuba would serve
      only to bolster Castro's government, which suppresses its
      people. Bush stated in a New York Times article that,
      American tourist dollars go to the Cuban government, which
      "pays the workers a pittance in worthless pesos and keeps
      the hard currency to prop up the dictator and his cronies."

      According to the figures from the U.S. Treasury department,
      an estimated 160,000 Americans make the trip to the Cuba
      each year, half being Cuban-Americans returning to visit
      family.

      The House and Senate still need to work out differing
      details of the spending bill before it goes to the White
      House.
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