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Cuba: It ought to be called the "democracy of money"

The Cuban Interests Section -- Havana's defacto embassy in Washington -- says a recent report tying campaign contributions to U.S.-Cuba policy "reveals the tip of the iceberg of what moves behind U.S. policy toward Cuba.

"It also shows how money rules policy toward Cuba, not principles, ethics, justice and morality," the press office's Alberto González said in an e-mail. "The right of Americans to travel to Cuba does not constitute a 'gesture toward Cuba' but a constitutional right of American citizens. However, it is remarkable how these
legislators accept money for something that goes against the very constitutional rights of the American people."

The report found supporters of the embargo had contributed more than $11 million to fend off efforts to weaken sanctions against the government.

Among the big beneficiaries: New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who heads up efforts to raise money for Senate Democrats.

"It is interesting and scandalous that Sen. Bob Menéndez was one of those who received the most money for maintaining this type of policy against Cuba," González said. "Evidently, one must question whether his interests respond not to the Cuban community but to an issue of money.

"Bob Menéndez shows once more that he is making policy toward Cuba on Republican grounds and against the interests of the real Cubans, even against his own party. If this is called democracy, then it should be 'the democracy of money.' " 

A spokesman for Menendez said the senator "has held his principled views on Cuba since long before he came to Congress and long before this PAC was created. The PAC has the freedom to contribute to whomever it wants, but that has no bearing on the senator's positions."

He noted that if Public Campaign "truly wants to inform the public, they ought to include in their report all of the contributions from corporations and organizations that oppose the embargo. It would not amount to chump change.

"While groups like this are all worried about legal campaign contributions, under the law in a democracy, they seem to be uninterested in freedom, democracy and human rights in Cuba."