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Cuba policy smack down

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez took to the Senate floor tonight to deliver a withering denounciation of proposed changes to U.S.-Cuba policy, all but pleading with President Barack Obama to reject the changes -- which have been tucked into a massive spending bill being debated this week in the Senate.

"The process by which these changes have been forced upon this body is so deeply offensive to me, and so deeply undemocratic, that it puts the omnibus appropriations package in jeopardy, in spite of all the other tremendously important funding that this bill would provide," said Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Democrats' Senate candidate recruiting committee.

"If the omnibus bill is signed by the president as is," Menendez warned, "He will be extending a hand while the Castro regime maintains its iron-handed clenched fist."

He also had a few choice words for those advocating opening up relations with Cuba, saying "they advocate for labor rights in the U.S. but are willing to accept forced labor in Cuba. They talk about democracy in Burma, but are willing to sip rum with Cuba's dictators."

Menendez also had harsh words for a report authored by Sen. Richard Lugar's office which suggested it was time for a change in U.S.-Cuba relations. He said the report's "lack of focus on democracy and human rights in the memo was astonishing."
 
Florida Sen. Mel Martinez has vowed to block the provisions, which would make it easier to travel to Cuba. Senate President Harry Reid took to the floor after Menendez and said he was "committed to working" with Menendez "to resolve the injustice that is happening 90 miles off the shore of America." He didn't go as far as saying he'd help Menendez and Martinez strip the language off the bill, only to say he "looked forward" to working with Menendez.
 
Read Menendez's prepared remarksCuba(03.02.2009) .

Comments

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Ewing

These Cuban Exile blowhards are actually fighting to deny Americans their freedoms to trade and travel. Their failed politics is an abomination....

londonchica

Way to go, Bob and Mel. Those who advocate "freedom to travel" to Cuba really are handing over to the Castro brothers the veto power on who gets to go. The "abomination" is that people who supposedly relish democracy and human rights are willing to bow and scrape before the longest ruling dictator in the world.

alexander

i dont know whatthe us gains in strangulating cuba for being comunist and getting in the bed with china economically speaking??
does that makes sence?? not to me.
why the us fears cuba so much??
strangulating other for thinking different and banning travel are strategies of dictator regimes ok...

Chuck

The failed U.S. Cuban embargo reminds me of Homer Simpson choking Bart in the hope that Bart will somehow become a different kid. Ain't gonna happen. I visited Cuban as a youth and have been waiting five decades to visit again. Menendez is flexing for his family and friends but in his heart, he has to want to return to visit as well. Listen to Obama -- "a change is gonna come." 'bout time, IMHO.

max anderson

America is about freedom. The exiles are no much better than Castro, they want to bring the oppresize policies from their homeland here, restricting our freedom to travel has not worked, fifty years of a failed embargo is enough, let freedom ring.

Gwen Chute

As a non-American I travel freely and often in Cuba ......... not so much in the US anymore. Are you folks for real? Cuba is struggling, yes, thanks mainly to the embargo, but they have an amazing country where I feel safe, inspired and grateful .... there is evidence of CARING everywhere - for children, families, learning, environment, sustainability, art and music, and YES, democratic principles. One of my best visits was watching their government in action - a huge diversity of young, old, men, women, of all shades debating with each other - passionately, but respectfully, about the present state and future directions of their country. Yes, I was watching a grainy black and white Cuban TV, but it sure beats the nasty, ignorant, mega-funded rhetoric I see in full sound and colour on CNN. By the way, I also saw CNN in Cuba, plus HBO, BBC, and broadcasts from Bejing, France, and Germany. You folks need to experience some reality ... and while you're at it , visit the School of Medicine, where they train doctors from many of the disadvantaged developing countries of the world (and oh, yes, the USA) free of charge. Let your people go - without an undermining agenda -' Land of the Free'.

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