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Helms Burton Act

The Helms-Burton Act can only be described as the dumbest law ever written by the Congress of the United States. It defies everything great this country once stood for. First and foremost, Helms-Burton punishes the Cuban people, by making it nearly impossible for them to purchase enough food and medicine for a healthy life. Second, it punishes the native born Americans by refusing to allow them to visit Cuba to spread the word about democracies finer points. Third, it punishes all of our major allies who have chosen to trade freely with Cuba.

 

President Bush has already indicated that he will not change policy toward Cuba until Cuba holds free elections, by his definition. Of course, Cuba already holds elections and at their last election, 95.64 % of the Cuban people voted.  Just prior to that 99.25 % of the Cubans voted to keep "socialism". How many believe that George W. Bush would be president if 95% of the American voters ever turned out for an election?  We can't even get 50% to vote in a Presidential election and in off year elections we are lucky to top 30%. 105 million American did not vote in the 2002 elections.  That 105 million can elect anyone if they will just turn out at the polls. 

It isn't like Republicans running against Democrats in Cuba, it is more like communists against non-communists.  About 20% of the members of the Cuban Parliament are not Party members.  If the Cuban people decided they wanted to vote in 80% that are not Party members, they can do it.  It is not exactly an American style election, but then again, the 2000 Presidential elections in the United States were not exactly the shining example of how to hold free and fair elections either!  Bush has said that he will "veto" any change even those that might improve living conditions for the Cuban people.

Could we say that George W Bush has already "sold out" to the right-wing of the Cuban American Community?  Sounds about right from here!

In 1998, the Cuban Parliament or National Assembly as they call it, was composed of 601 delegates. Here is a breakdown of their various backgrounds (Some delegates are counted more than once as they hold positions in addition to their full-time jobs.)

  • 145 workers, peasants, co-operative workers, educators, health service employees and others directly linked to production and services
  • 26 scientists
  • 7 sports men and women
  • 30 journalists, writers, artists and other cultural workers
  • 35 from the Armed Forces or Ministry of Interior
  • 64 leaders and functionaries of the Communist Party of Cuba or Communist Youth
  • 56 leaders of mass organizations
  • 41 leaders and functionaries of the state apparatus
  • 173 leaders of local government
  • 90 leaders of the consejos populares (administrative districts within a municipality)
  • 21 administrators or functionaries in the national government
  • 3 religious pastors

This is no revolutionary "old boys club" as can be seen from the following statistics.

  • only 38 deputies were over 65
  • the average age of all delegates was 45
  • 28% of delegates were women
  • 46% of them were already delegates to their Municipal Assemblies
  • 65% of them were elected for the first time in 1997-98
  • approximately 20% were not members of the Communist Party

In short, the National Assembly is fairly representative of Cuban society as a whole.

The Bush policy doesn't compare well with that of former President Clinton, who said that he would encourage increased humanitarian aid for the Cubans, and did.  He also wanted more people to people contact between Americans and Cubans.  It happened, 76,898 Americans (other than Cuban Americans) visited Cuba in his last year in office (2000).  Of that number, 29,000 went with a license from the Treasury Department OFAC.  The other 48,000 went illegally.  

Approximately 80,000 Americans visited Cuba in 2001, 60,000 illegally.  Way to go America!   I urge you to try to get a license from the Treasury Department OFAC to deliver humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, today. The U.S. government says that "the allegations that the United States in someway prevents medicine from getting to the Cuban people is simply not true". If it is not true, then I wonder why the U.S. Commerce Department recently told me that in one recent year, only $25,000 in food sales and not one thin dime in medicine sales was authorized? Third, if this is such a wonderful piece of legislation designed to bring democracy to Cuba, I wonder why every one of our major allies in Europe, Canada and Latin America have all produced what is known as "clawback" laws designed to punish the citizens of their countries who comply with the Helms-Burton Act. Fourth, this is a real shining example of democratic principles, when a handful of Cuban Americans have been able to purchase control of the foreign policy of this nation by giving at least $4.4 million to our politicians like Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) and others, not to mention the other millions given to President's Reagan, Bush and Clinton. One good thing is that Torricelli, Helms and Dick Army (R-TX) are all gone now.  It is time to end the careers of people like Dan Burton (R-IN) and Tom Delay (R-TX)!

Under Clinton, Congress did authorize the sale of food and medicine to Cuba, but provided no means for financing the sales.  Since Hurricane Michelle in November 2001, Cuba has agreed to buy about $200 million in emergency supplies from the US.  At least it is a start.

In my opinion, every nasty word ever invented can be applied to the Helms-Burton Act: Un-American, Un-Godly, fascist-like, discriminatory, stupid, shameful, murderous and the list could go on and on! 

You can be certain that our clients have taken $millions in humanitarian food and medicines to the Cuban people, whether Uncle Sam likes it or not!

Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), has been forced to resign (corruption-taking bribes).  Senator Jesse Helms retired at the end of 2002.  Torricelli was the author of the Torricelli Act and Jesse Helms (R-NC) the co-sponsor of the Helms-Burton Act, along with Dan Burton (R-IN), Congressman.  These two Congress persons and others accepted at least $4.4 million from the Cuban Americans to sponsor their un-American, un-Christian like legislation.  Tens of thousands of Cubans have suffered or died because of this criminal-like legislation....denying the sale of food and medicines to the Cuban people and preventing subsidiaries of American companies to do so, too!  All three, should be prosecuted before the War Crimes Tribunal, in my opinion, for Crimes against Humanity.

For those who want to know about expropriated properties, you should know that Cuba has settled with every person or business from every other country in the world regarding expropriated properties.  According to Dr. Wayne S. Smith, the man many feel is the top expert on Cuba in this country, it is the United States refusing to negotiate the expropriated properties....the Cubans are ready and willing!

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