The Hill: House Bill Bans Trade With Cuban Military

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
From The Hill:

GOP bill bans trade with Cuban military

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has introduced legislation that would prevent the Cuban military from reaping benefits due to normalized U.S. relations.

The bill authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the Intelligence panel chairman, would prohibit Americans from entering financial transactions with the Cuban military or the Cuban Ministry of the Interior, which controls the national police force.

"Despite the Obama administration’s attempts at reconciliation, the Castro regime continues to oppress the Cuban people and to shelter members of the Cuban military responsible for shooting down U.S. civilian aircraft in the Florida Straits. This bill will ensure that the government entities responsible for these acts – the Cuban military and the Interior Ministry – will not reap the rewards of increased trade with the United States," Nunes said in a statement.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) emphasized that the legislation only targets Cuban entities that have committed acts of brutality against civilians.

"I look forward to the day when we can pursue completely free trade and travel between the U.S. and Cuba, but current circumstances require us to move cautiously, as this legislation does," Thornberry said.

The bill is similar to language tucked into the 2016 appropriations bill for the Departments of Justice and Commerce that passed the House earlier this month. Those provisions would prohibit funds for exports to members of the Cuban military and their families.

So far, Nunes's legislation has 32 cosponsors, including Florida Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, all of whom are of Cuban descent. Only one Democrat, Albio Sires of New Jersey, has endorsed the measure.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Cuban American and 2016 presidential contender, has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.