Wednesday | July 24, 2002
A more rational Cuba policy
Bush has yet to veto a bill in his presidency. He may finally have a reason to do so. The US House, in a convincing bipartisan vote, inflicted a significant blow to the Cuban embargo. Specifically, the House voted to lift travel restrictions, remove hurdles to the sale of food and medicine, and lift caps on money Cuban-Americans can send to family members in Cuba.
A Senate committee has already voted to lift the travel restrictions, and the full Senate should follow shortly. However, Bush cannot allow the bill to become law, lest he damage his and his brother's electoral chances in Florida.
But Bush, as well as the Cuban exile community, are fighting a losing battle. The restrictions may not be lifted this year, but the writing is on the wall.
Non-Florida Democrats are already strong proponents of ending the embargo. And farm state Republicans have been at the forefront of the issue in the last few years. Indeed, while it has received scant media notice, North Dakota governor John Hoeven, a Republican, is currently in Cuba on a trade mission. GOP Gov Ryan of Illinois made two trips the past two years. Others are sure to follow.
The cracks on the embargo are widening, which explains the increased shrillness of embargo supporters such as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:
The Castro dictatorship, a totalitarian regime long known to be a safe haven for terrorists and a nerve center for international espionage, is a continuing and growing threat to our national security that we cannot afford to underestimate.Ros-Lehtinen and the Cuban American National Foundation have been crying 'wolf' for 40 years. Their bluff has finally been called. Posted July 24, 2002 12:54 AM | Comments (1)