[Marxism] Kerry: Expand travel to Cuba (MH)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 5 18:56:25 MDT 2004


(Mealy-mouthed as it is, it's obvious from reading 
this, that most people in the Cuban-American world
who oppose the escalated hostility toward Cuba which
Bush has been implementing, will be voting for Kerry:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/message/26789

(Since this is the Miami Herald, which is completely
opposed to such a shift, it certainly would have been 
interesting to see what his full statements to the 
Herald actually were.

(Nader, as yet, has made no campaign statement on Cuba.
Here is Nader's foreign policy plank from his website:
http://www.votenader.org/issues/index.php?cid=26 

(Workers World is running John Parker, which will say
good things about Cuba. The Socialist Workers Party 
hasn't announced who its nominee will be.)
=======================================================

MIAMI HERALD
Posted on Sun, Jun. 06, 2004

CUBA POLICY
Kerry: Expand travel to Cuba
Sen. John Kerry, disputing President Bush's actions on Cuba, 
told The Herald that he would open Cuba to 'principled travel' 
and lift a restriction on sending money to people on the island. 
BY LESLEY CLARK lclark at herald.com

Denouncing President Bush's crackdown on Fidel Castro as
election-year politicking that ''punishes and isolates the
Cuban people,'' John Kerry told The Herald that he would
encourage ''principled travel'' to the island and lift the
cap on gifts to its people.

In his first detailed remarks on Cuba policy since
clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, the
Massachusetts senator sought to carve out a middle ground
in what has been a dicey subject for him. He embraced the
U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and support for dissidents,
but criticized Bush's restriction of travel and cash gifts
to Cubans on the island as a ``cynical and misguided ploy
for a few Florida votes.''

Kerry said in the telephone interview Friday that Bush's
new hard-line policy restricting travelers to a single
visit every three years ``punishes and isolates the Cuban
people and harms the Cuban Americans with relatives on the
island while leaving Castro unharmed.''

''Selective engagement, not isolation, is the best way for
the American people to send real, not just rhetorical, hope
for a better future to the Cuban people,'' he said.

Kerry, who has a long voting record generally sympathetic
to increasing contact with the island and has faced
Republican criticism for shifting stances on the trade
embargo, sought to fine-tune his position.

`THE HEMINGWAY BAR'

A decade ago, Kerry, an influential force behind the
decision to lift the trade embargo against Vietnam, pushed
to ease travel restrictions in Cuba. He said Friday,
though, that he would lift only the ban on Cuba travel that
is not ''pure tourism,'' suggesting that democracy efforts
in Poland, Russia and China were aided by similar
``political travel.''

''It's travel that is engaged between families, travel
engaged for culture and advancement,'' he said. ``I think
you want to begin a process that engages on a principled,
measurable goal rather than just going to the Hemingway bar
somewhere and spending some money.''

Kerry said he would also lift the restriction on
remittances to allow gifts to ''households and humanitarian
institutions.'' Bush has restricted gifts to only
''immediate family members,'' but Kerry said the money can
be a ''powerful tool'' to help Cubans on the island start
small businesses ``and thereby gain a measure of
autonomy.''

OTHER COUNTRIES

And he accused the Bush administration of failing to better
engage the international community to oppose Castro, a
position that mirrors his criticism of the president's
strategy on the war in Iraq, which Kerry has said has
damaged U.S. credibility.

''If we were more effective,'' he said, ``we would have a
little more goodwill in the bank to be able to effectively
move the international community with respect to Cuba.''

Kerry's stab at a more nuanced Cuba policy comes as some
suggest that by playing to those exiles who urged him to
get tough on Castro, Bush may have alienated more moderate
Cuban Americans, particularly newer arrivals with relatives
still on the island. Nearly 200,000 people traveled to Cuba
from the United States last year, and some Cuban-American
groups have pledged to launch voter registration drives to
target Bush.

PRESIDENT'S ACTIONS

Bush's new restrictions came after pleading from hard-line
exiles who said the Republican president sorely needed to
shore up his conservative base after failing to deliver the
aggressive anti-Castro strategy that he had promised the
Cuban community during the election and a 2002 visit to
Miami.

At least eight in 10 of Florida's nearly half-million
Cuban-American voters backed Bush in 2000, when he won the
state by just 537 votes, but polls conducted before he
announced the new restrictions last month suggested that
his approval ratings were slipping.

The new restrictions, which include reducing the number of
visits to the island and limiting spending during family
visits, met with acclaim from some of his Republican
critics.

But the rift between Bush and some in the traditionally
loyal GOP voting bloc energized Democrats who hope to peel
at least a sliver of votes away from the president as part
of an aggressive push to target Hispanic voters in the
state. Democratic strategists note that if they can take
away even a portion of the Cuban-American electorate, their
nominee can win Florida -- and the White House -- just as
President Clinton did in 1996, when he won an estimated 40
percent of the Cuban vote.

Democrats have been divided on whether to court Cuban
Americans on Cuba or on issues such as healthcare and
education. But Kerry's campaign said it believes that Bush
has given the Democratic candidate an opening by pursuing a
hard-line strategy.

A spokesman for the Bush campaign suggested that Kerry's
remarks were pandering ``from a candidate who, every time
he had the opportunity, voted against restrictions on
Castro.''

''Sen. Kerry's talk is always tough, but his votes always
go easy on Castro,'' said the spokesman, Reed Dickens.
``His policy proposals for the people of Cuba are policies
that are already in existence. They show a lack of
understanding of the existing policy and a total disconnect
with his entire voting career.''

Republicans have already sought to label Kerry as soft on
Castro, pointing to a 2000 interview in which Kerry told
The Boston Globe that the only reason the United States
treated Cuba differently from China and Russia was the
``politics of Florida.''

KERRY'S VOTE

Kerry voted against the final version of 1996 legislation
designed to strengthen trade sanctions against Cuba, but
told a Miami television reporter during a visit to South
Florida that he backed the measure.

He said Friday that he supported the embargo, but voted
against the final version because it included a
controversial provision to allow Cuban Americans to sue
foreign ventures using property confiscated by Cuba.

The Bush administration has maintained the Clinton policy
of preventing such lawsuits, but Kerry said Friday that the
administration is looking at enforcing the provision, which
the European Union has denounced.

''This will further strain relations with Canada and our
European allies when, frankly, we most need them,'' Kerry
said. ``Instead, I will work to craft a policy toward Cuba
that our allies can join and support.''

C 2004 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights
Reserved. http://www.miami.com






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