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US Cuba Policy News

News regarding efforts to change US policy towards Cuba.  See also our page tracking efforts within the Cuban American community in Rebellion in Miami.

U.S. House votes to ease embargo  9/22/2004 Sun Sentinel, FL: "In a show of growing impatience with the U.S. embargo of Cuba, the U.S. House approved amendments on Wednesday that would ease the sale of food and medicine to the island and remove obstacles to student-exchange programs."

GOP bastions in Deep South buck Bush's Cuba policy  8/14/2004 AP: "President Bush promised Florida's Cuban American voters a fortified American trade embargo against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro by cutting what U.S. tourists can spend in Cuba from $167 to $50 daily. But Southern states solidly in Bush's electoral camp - including Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana - have been rejoicing over multimillion-dollar Cuban trade contracts for the past three years."

New Upsurge of American Aggression against Cuba  8/5/2004 Znet 

US makes embargo exception in cancer drug deal with Cuba  7/16/2004 AFP: "To take part in the deal, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued the US company a license authorizing CancerVax and its Tarcanta subsidiaries to enter into transactions with CIMAB, S.A., a Cuban biotechnology company, and YM BioSciences, a Canadian firm."

Pastors for Peace Caravan en Route to Cuba  6/29/2004 Cuba Now 

PROTEST MEASURES AGAINST US STUDENTS IN CUBA  6/29/2004 Cuba Now: "US religious leader Rev. Lucius Walker has circulated an urgent alert on government measures against American youths studying medicine in Cuba and called on supporters of the scholarship program to protest what he described as “unfair and mean-spirited regulations.” The alert says that, among the new and even more stringent measures against Cuba, are “certain changes which, in our view, constitute a direct attack on the scholarship opportunity which Cuba has extended to 500 US students.” Rev. Walker also highlights the racist implications of the new regulations: “Almost 80 (soon to be 100) African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and poor white students are faced with the loss of their medical careers… they could not afford to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors in the US. Now their own government is telling them that they cannot accept a full scholarship from Cuba.” "

Travel and remittances to Cuba are now restricted  6/24/2004 Progresso Weekly: "Another Florida Republican Congressman, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, said that “President George W. Bush is the best friend the cause of Cuban freedom has had in the White House. I thank President Bush for the implementation of these regulations that strengthen the embargo against Cuban tyranny.” " [Nice, coming from a man said to have received $100 million from a Colombian drug lord, a man whose family was responsible for the repression of West Indians in Oriente.]

We should normalize relations with Cuba  6/14/2004 Final Call: "In what almost sounds like something from a comedy skit, the Bush administration also proposes to offer funds for democracy-building aimed at reaching Afro-Cubans and addressing issues of race. This proposal comes from an administration that has not demonstrated anything other than a symbolic interest in addressing the continuing manifestations of racism in U.S. society."

Support Kerry on Travel and Humanitarian Aid to Cuba  6/9/2004 iPetitions 


Bush, Kerry spark renewed Cuba debate  6/7/2004 Miami Herald 

Kerry's weapon against Cuba: global pressure  6/6/2004 Miami Herald 

John Kerry: Statement of Principles on U.S. Cuba Policy  6/5/2004 John Kerry: "President Bush on the other hand is now considering implementing extra territorial aspects of the Helms-Burton law, aimed at punishing foreign countries and companies for investing in Cuba. This will further strain relations with Canada and our European allies when, frankly, we most need them. With American credibility abroad suffering from this White House's smug disregard for world opinion, extra-territorial steps will only make matters worse. Instead, I will work to craft a policy toward Cuba that our allies can join and support."

Victims of Cuba Travel Enforcement Speak Out  5/30/2004 LAWG 

A Cold, Poll-Driven Calculation - Bush's Cruel New Rules on Cuba  5/28/2004 Counterpunch: by U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., who serves on the House Committee on International Relations and co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Cuba Working Group.

CUI BONO II: George W. Bush’s draconian anti-Cuba measures  5/27/2004 Radio Progresso 

African-Americans Challenge US Blockade on Cuba  5/26/2004 Cuba Now: "The Virginia-based African-Awareness-Association announced that a delegation of African-Americans will organize a freedom ride (on bus and aircraft) to Cuba next July to challenge US travel restrictions."

Principles for an Effective Cuba Policy  5/21/2004 Center for American Progress 

Prominent American Leaders Call Upon Administration to Lift All Restrictions on Humanitarian Trade and Travel to Cuba  5/20/2004 PR Newswire: "A bipartisan group of prominent business leaders, ex-government officials, elected officials and humanitarian leaders from across the nation today, in an open letter to President Bush, called on the administration to work with the majority of members of Congress who seek to lift all restrictions on humanitarian trade and free travel to Cuba. The letter was issued by Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba (AHTC) in response to the administration's recent adoption of measures that would limit Cuban American family visits, humanitarian aid and travel recommended by its interagency Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba."

Pastors for Peace Challenges US Blockade AGAINST Cuba  5/19/2004 Cuba Now 

Cuba: U.S. provoking exodus of Cubans to create migration crisis  5/18/2004 AP 

US Use of Warplanes Adds Dangerous Element to Cuba Relations  5/12/2004 Prensa Latina: "The decision of the Bush administration to use C-130 Air Force military planes to increment subversive broadcasts to Cuba raises the temperature of already heated bilateral relations. Although all the new destabilizing measures are aggressive, use of a warplane is especially alarming due to the real risk of incidents on the maritime frontier between the two countries… Steffan also reported that in 1989 a retired US admiral revealed many practice attacks on Cuba, including one when 80 fighter-bombers with live ammunition flew in attack formation to Cuba to test the efficiency of Cuban radar. Had Cuba fired a rocket or done something similar, they were to have attacked, he reported. In this context, Cuban analysts have warned of the danger of C-130s flying in anti-Cuban actions, including the risk of a mechanical difficulty or other accident that could provoke an unforeseeable outcome."

Cuba Urgent Action - White House Strikes Devastating Blow Against Cuba  5/11/2004 Global Exchange 

A Cuban dead-end  5/10/2004 Financial Times: "This approach is flawed in several respects. Most strikingly, it represents a distortion of US foreign policy priorities. As a result of what one congressman has justifiably described as a "bizarre obsession with Cuba", resources that are necessary for the war on terror will be deployed in policing sanctions. And it is almost guaranteed to fail. The new economic sanctions play into President Castro's hands by making it easier for him to explain the country's problems as being due to conflict with the US. That, in turn, is likely to reduce any benefits that TV Marti broadcasts might bring to Cuba and make life more complicated for opposition activists, many of whom have already spoken out against the clampdown. Even if sanctions were seriously to reduce the $1bn in remittances that arrives in Cuba each year, additional austerity would be more likely to translate into further social disintegration - and probably a fresh mass exodus of refugees - rather than any groundswell of political activity against Mr Castro's repressive government."

Bush Tightens Cuba Embargo  5/7/2004 AntiWar: ""Obviously, we support the expansion of democracy in Cuba," said Rachel Farley, Cuba program officer at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), "but history has shown that assistance to dissidents puts them at risk of being painted by the Cuban government as subversives working with the US This type of assistance helped land 75 dissidents in jail in March, 2003," she added… Of the 59 million dollars the administration intends to commit to "democracy-promoting" activities in Cuba, up to 36 million dollars will be allocated for the support of dissidents and their families, and "to help youth, women and Afro-Cubans take their rightful place in the pro-democracy movement." "

U.S. Seeks to Subvert Succession in Cuba  5/6/2004 AP 

Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba's report to the President  5/6/2004 Cuba Central: "I see dollar signs all over the place. Enforcement of these new restrictions will require more money and human resources. Senator Baucus's concerns about misallocation of Treasury resources to tracking American tourists instead of Bin laden’s money will certainly be intensified. Finally, one big irony: They obviously studied post-Castro Cuba a lot harder than they studied post-Saddam Iraq, given the details to be found in the post-transition aid portions of the report. This is another example of how skewed the allocation of resources has become."

Powell aides go public on rift with Bush  5/6/2004 Guardian, UK: "Colin Powell's key aide has described US sanctions policy against countries such as Pakistan and Cuba as "the dumbest policy on the face of the Earth". "

Congressional Letter to the Administration Regarding Political Transition in Cuba  5/6/2004 LAWG 

Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba - Report (pdf format)  5/6/2004 State Department: full text of the May "report."

Panel Seeks Steps for Cuba Regime Change  5/5/2004 AP 

U.S. Wants to Reduce Flow of U.S. Funds to Cuba  5/3/2004 Reuters 

Six-Month Policy Review Led by Secretary of State Colin Powell Recommends Cuba Cash Squeeze  5/2/2004 AP 


Panel Seeks Steps for Cuba Regime Change  5/2/2004 Miami Herald 

Pastors for Peace to Launch Non-Violent Challenge to US Blockade of Cuba  5/1/2004 IFCO 


More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden  4/29/2004 AP: "The Treasury Department agency entrusted with blocking the financial resources of terrorists has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money, documents show. In addition, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said that between 1990 and 2003 it opened just 93 enforcement investigations related to terrorism. Since 1994 it has collected just $9,425 in fines for terrorism financing violations. In contrast, OFAC opened 10,683 enforcement investigations since 1990 for possible violations of the long-standing economic embargo against Fidel Castro's regime, and collected more than $8 million in fines since 1994, mostly from people who sent money to, did business with or traveled to Cuba without permission. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., threatened Thursday to start an effort in Congress to eliminate some funding for OFAC if more resources weren't put toward the bin Laden and Saddam efforts. "This is really astounding," Dorgan said. "I hope somebody in the administration will soon come to his or her senses and start directing our resources where they are needed. Politics is clearly diverting precious time, money and manpower away from the war on terrorism here." "

US Designates Cuba State Sponsor of Terrorism  4/29/2004 VOA 

Bush and Kerry court Cuban swing vote  4/28/2004 BBC 

Bush Goes from Illogical to Ridiculous on Cuban Drug Issue  4/26/2004 Prensa Latina: "Cuba is well aware of its dangerous geographic position, and for that reason is evaluating a Caribbean Regional Maritime Cooperation Agreement for international cooperation against drug traffic and has repeatedly offered to sign a bilateral cooperation agreement with the US to combat such drug traffic. Although the US has refused to consider these offers, even with the courtesy of a negative, the Cuban Coastguard has systematically informed the US Coastguard 7th district of pertinent information that has allowed them to frustrate 16 drug operations and capture 35 drug traffickers, 13 speedboats and two airboats since July 2000."

US, Do You Know Who Is Setting Your Foreign Policy?  4/26/2004 Prensa Latina: "Former Iran-Contra conspirator and ex Ambassador to Honduras John Negroponte is now in the United Nations in New York, Rogelio Pardo Maurer, ex high official of the Nicaraguan Contras is a top-level Pentagon official in charge of Latin America and Elliot Abrams, the former State Department assistant secretary for Latin America who lied to Congress, is now a member of the White House National Security Council. In addition, John Poindexter, former national security adviser and ex con (5 years for lying to Congress about the illegal use of forces to help the Contras) is now in charge of "counterterrorism" in the Pentagon. And at least seven Cuban-American ultra-conservatives are directly involved in US foreign policy toward Latin America, among them CIA front Adolfo A. Franco, top man in the USAID program, and Col. Emilio Gonzalez, high official on the White House National Security Council to "evaluate" US policy toward Cuba, the column points out. "What we have is total domination of the process of designing policy toward Latin America by the extreme rightwing Cuban-American community," the Carmona article quoted Mexican reporter Larry Birns as saying."

President Bush may reduce amount of money families can send to Cuba  4/26/2004 Sun Sentinel: "The Bush administration is considering making significant cuts in the amount of money Americans are allowed to send to family and others in Cuba, according to sources familiar with the discussions of the president's Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. One proposal under review would temporarily freeze all remittances -- possibly for six months -- after which the administration would reinstate them at much lower levels than currently allowed."

Washington Vibes By The Latin America Working Group - Tightening the noose around Cuba’s neck  4/8/2004 Progreso Weekly: "“Mostly, it is alarming. The Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC], Treasury’s main arm for stopping the transit of illegal funds to terrorist organizations, is now dedicating one out of every six of its full-time personnel to the enforcement of the Cuba sanctions, rather than to the fight against international financing of terrorism. At the same time, the Senate Finance Committee and the General Accounting Office are raising serious questions about OFAC’s ability to fulfill its duties in the war against terror.” – from the Center for International Policy’s “International Policy BRIEF,” February 27, 2004."

U.S. OKs Editing of Foreign Manuscripts  4/5/2004 AP 

NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHES "FREE THE CUBAN FIVE" AD  3/20/2004 Cuba Now: "The campaign to raise $50,000 for the ad was launched last October, and –since then- there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from across the United States, and around the world. The Committee pointed out that the Basta Ya! Network, in Germany, raised $10,800; the Cuban progressive community, in Miami, another $10,000; and many other contributions were made from Spain, Belgium, Italy, France, Colombia, Argentina, South Africa, England, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Australia, Canada, and other countries, and all across the United States."

Advisor affirms Bush's Cuba policy  3/20/2004 Miami Herald: "Karl Rove, President Bush's key political strategist, wins a standing ovation when he promises a Miami audience tougher sanctions on Castro."

15th Friendshipment Caravan: THE CARAVAN IS COMING SO START PLANNING NOW!  3/14/2004 IFCO 

Campaign to free Cuban Five seeks mainstream spotlight  3/13/2004 Final Call 

'Cold warrior' at heart of Cuba crackdown  2/27/2004 Cuba Central: "U.S. policy toward Cuba is dominated by one man, a scandal-plagued Cold War relic who has no business being President Bush's chief adviser on Latin America. That's what U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, has to say about Otto Reich."

Bush Plan Would Halt Cuba-Bound U.S. Boaters  2/27/2004 LA Times 

U.S. Embargos Extended to Editing Articles  2/21/2004 LA Times: "For U.S. publishers, changing so much as a comma in an author's work can be more than a delicate process. It can be criminal — punishable by fines of up to a half-million dollars or jail terms as long as 10 years. In a move that pits national security concerns against academic freedom and the international flow of information, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes. Although publishing the articles is legal, editing is a "service" and it is illegal to perform services for embargoed nations, the agency has ruled." This includes Cuba, of course.

Exiles offer post-Castro Cuba plan  2/21/2004 Miami Herald 

Cuba and U.S. maintain ties, Cuba expert says  2/19/2004 Sun Sentinel, FL 

Cuba high on neo-con hit list  1/22/2004 Radio Progresso: " “Before Bush,” a former National Security staffer confided, “we understood that the post Vietnam War rule was in place: we don’t fight anyone who can fight back. Then the neo-cons and their soldier of God partners seemed to infest the policy community. These characters, few if any have military experience, appear unconcerned with the consequences of starting a conflagration process with Cuba.” In their new book, Richard Perle and David Frum, leading chicken hawk neo-cons, discuss leaders like Fidel Castro and state that “when it is in our power and in our interest, we should toss dictators aside with no more compunction than a police sharpshooter feels when he takes down a hostage taker.” Another of the mouth warriors, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, has repeatedly accused Cuba of providing “dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states.” In early January Bolton called Cuba a “rogue state” and voiced his concern that Cuba would share “such technology with other despised nations." "

U.S. Actions Toward Cuba Worries Envoy  1/19/2004 AP: "To Rodriguez, the most inexplicable and troubling development has been the recent U.S. allegation of Cuban meddling in Latin America, sometimes in collaboration with the country's main South American ally, Venezuela. ``That issue could legitimately have been raised 20 years ago, but not now,'' Rodriguez said, pointing out that Cuba has normal relations with all hemispheric countries except El Salvador."



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