Let's Have an Honest Cuba Policy Debate

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
In its newsletter last week, the deceptively-named, Center for Democracy in the Americas ("CDA"), raised alarm bells about legislative provisions in must-pass Appropriations bills that challenge President Obama's Cuba policy.

It warns:

"Step-by-step, legislation is working its way through Congress to curtail much of the progress President Obama is making in U.S.-Cuba relations by cutting the funds needed by federal agencies to implement his new policies."

Fair enough.

CDA continues:

"The House Appropriations Committee has already voted to ground new commercial or charter flights that come into being after March 15, 2015 in the transportation department budget bill."

Why not be completely honest?

In fact, the House Appropriations Committee voted to block the licensing of new air flights and maritime vessel routes to Cuba -- if the landing fields or docks include property that has been confiscated by the Castro regime.

Thus, the question is:

Should the Castro regime be allowed to use stolen property for its commercial benefit?

That's an honest debate to have.

CDA goes on:

"Then, there’s the Commerce Department bill shutting down U.S. exports to Cuba. Telecommunications firms? Others? Better dial 9-11."

Again, not honest.

The Commerce Appropriations provision prohibits exports -- under the Obama Administration's new "Support for the Cuban People" category -- to entities owned or controlled by the Castro regime's military ("MINFAR") or security services ("MININT").

After all, it would be an oxymoron for sales "for the Cuban people" to go through Castro's military and security services, wouldn't it?

Thus, the question is:

Should exports to the Cuban people be funneled through Castro's military and security services? 

That's also an honest debate to have.

The American people should know all the facts -- no matter how unpleasant or inconvenient -- about what expanded travel and trade with Cuba would entail.

CDA closes by stating:

"Here’s the bottom line. Whether Congress follows the regular order and starts enacting bills to finance Cabinet departments separately — or it wraps them all together in one giant package — sooner or later all these restrictions are going to land with a thump and a thud on President Obama’s Oval Office desk."

There we agree.

And hopefully, the President will address them honestly.