Under the Dome: Anti-Castro Lobby Dealt a Minor, Temporary Setback in the House this week. Or is it?This all makes for very muddied waters and further reinforces our argument that we must focus our policy on national security grounds and not the anemic effort to "change Cuba from within" with the human rights agenda and related projects.
(17 Jun 06) By a voice vote, "[t]he U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill that would increase the ability of U.S. ag producers to market their products to Cuba. The door to ag trade with Cuba was opened in 2000, but the Department of Treasury last year changed its interpretation of the cash payment in advance rule as it relates to ag exports," reports the Brownfield Ag Report.
We did some checking with our House and Senate sources and, yes, it is true that the measure was approved by a voice vote on Friday.
The Brownfield Ag Report continues, "[a]ccording to Kansas [Republican] Representative Jerry Moran, who sponsored the amendment, the change led to a decline in ag trade between the two countries. The amendment would prohibit the use of Treasury funds for the administration, implementation or enforcement of the change to the cash in advance rule. Moran says unilateral sanctions by the U.S. only harm our own ag industry and farmers."
What they fail to leave out of this report is that Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have promised to remove the language during conference. That said, it is a minor setback to U.S./Cuba hardliners that continue to face weakening influence in the halls of Congress. A similar silly fight is brewing over off-shore drilling from Florida's coast (see here).
If the ag lobby was not enough to deal with, now the oil industry is lining up to take aim at U.S./Cuba sanctions. WHPW wonders if our government has found ways to engage the likes or Iran, why would it not engage Cuba over oil? A "strip out in conference solution," if they can make it happen, is nothing to cheer about. To wit, we note the marked silence from several Congressional offices of note, as well as hardline groups that follow the issue.
This all makes for very muddied waters and further reinforces our argument that we must focus our policy on national security grounds and not the anemic effort to "change Cuba from within" with the human rights agenda and related projects. If we do not change our approach soon and dramatically, might has well get ready to celebrate the regime Golden anniversary in less than three years.
Cuba, Cuban-Americans, Congress, sanctions, Fidel Castro
Western Hemisphere Policy Watch: Under the Dome: Anti-Castro Lobby Dealt a Minor, Temporary Setback in the House this week. Or is it?