FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pandering to Anti-Castro Hardliners

A New York Times story on November 13 by Christopher Marquis is quite disheartening for those of us who still want to believe we live in a democracy rather than an oligarchy. The unconstitutional Cuba travel restrictions were first enacted into law in 2000 by Senator Trent Lott (Senate majority leader) and Congressmen Tom Delay (then majority whip) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R., Miami). In a stacked “conference committee” on the approved bills allowing sales of medicine and nutritional food to Cuba, they added a provision codifying the travel restrictions, which had nothing to do with the medicine-food bills and had not been debated or voted on.

At the time Congressman Mark Sanford (R., SC) said his leadership had “behaved shamefully” and Senator Max Baucus (D., MT) called the maneuver “a travesty of our democracy.”

Every year since then the “party leaders” have refused to allow the proposed bills repealing the restrictions (supported by substantial majorities) to come to the floor, or be debated or voted on. Meanwhile the Bush Administration’s yearly requests for enforcement money for the restrictions have been turned down each year by 55-60% majorities in both chambers.

The restrictions (before 2000 administrative regs only) have not been enforced since the Soviet Union dissolved and our Defense Department in 1993 certified Cuba constitutes no security risk.

Now for the first time in ten years, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is starting to fine and prosecute unlicensed Cuba travelers (there were an estimated 100,000 in 2002).

This despite the fact that this fall both House and Senate by substantial majorities passed an amendment to the Transportation Budget to refuse the requested enforcement money for the restrictions.

The Marquis article indicates the party leaders have now quietly in conference thrown this amendment out, even though there could be no legal conference committee negotiation or jurisdiction because the passed bills are in identical language. The article says the leaders’ purpose is to save Mr. Bush the embarrassment of a veto, which might make him appear to pander to Florida Cuban-Americans.

But the pandering is not to Cuban-American voters (9% of Florida’s registered voters). Recent polls over the past two years (which Mr. Bush is surely aware of) show 70% of Florida’s Cuban-Americans want the restrictions repealed. Rather Mr. Bush is pandering to wealthy, reactionary Cuba “hard-liners” who fund his national campaigns, most of whom are not Cuban-Americans or from Florida, although some are.

Once again a very few powerful men have overruled the clearly expressed will of our Congress. Why do our so-called representatives allow this to happen? How can we accuse Cuba of being undemocratic? Are we a democracy or an oligarchy? Only if we face reality can we change it.

TOM CRUMPACKER is with the Miami Coalition to End the US Embargo of Cuba. He can be reached at: Crump8@aol.com

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail