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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1999 12:03:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: nattyreb@ix.netcom.com
Subject: !*Senate votes to sell food/medicine to Cuba
Article: 72021
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.2307.19990807151518@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>


From: "Compañero" <companyero@mindspring.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 21:00:21 -5

Press Release from Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba.
Subj: Senate Votes to End US Medicine and Food Embargo on Cuba
Date: 8/5/99 1:16:19 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: AOL News
Senate Votes to End US Medicine and Food Embargo on Cuba; 78 to 28 Vote Marks First-Time Legislative Victory to Ease Embargo

Senate Votes to End US Medicine and Food Embargo on Cuba; 78 to 28 Vote Marks First-Time Legislative Victory to Ease Embargo

Release from Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba
5 August 1999

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Farm groups and other advocates for ending the US food and medicine embargo on Cuba achieved a milestone victory last night when the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to allow US producers to sell food and medicine to Cuba.

"By overwhelmingly voting to allow US farmers and medical suppliers to sell direct to public institutions such as Cuban hospitals and schools, the Senate has moved far beyond the Administration's recent and somewhat moot action to allow humanitarian sales to a category of non-governmental entities that currently do not exist in Cuba," said Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba (AHTC) Co-Chair Craig Fuller, Managing Director of Korn/Ferry International and former chief of staff to Vice President George Bush who accompanied the President of the US Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue on his recent trip to Cuba.

"I'm glad the Congress is responding to the American people's desire to end a policy which discriminates against Cuban people, who are already caught in a tough situation," AHTC Co-Chair Sam Gibbons, a 34-year Congressman from Florida who recently retired said. Gibbons referred to a May 1999 Gallop Poll showing that 71% of Americans want US policy toward Cuba normalized.

"This is a triumph for the American farmer, the people of Cuba and common sense and restores US policy to the moral high ground," said Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) who has worked vigorously with Senator John Warner (R-VA) and others to allow humanitarian sales in order to support the people of Cuba.

"As a Cuban American who recently returned from a trip to Cuba, I know the Cuban people want and need food and medicine from the US and will applaud this important development," said AHTC Executive Director Sylvia Wilhelm, a Cuban American leader from Miami.

The amendment to free food and medical sales to Cuba and other countries was sponsored by Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) as part of the Agriculture Appropriations bill. The Amendment would now remove existing sanctions on food and medical products to Cuba by allowing general one-year licenses. The amendment also removes end-use monitoring and removes the ban on financing of sales from private US sources, two provisions which would make sales practical for US companies. The entire Agriculture Appropriations bill will now be reconciled in conference committee with the House, where legislation to free sales to Cuba -- The Cuba Food and Medicine Security Act -- currently enjoys the cosponsorship of more than 150 US Representatives.

Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba is a national bipartisan coalition of American business, political, Cuban American, medical, labor and religious leaders focused solely on restoring sales of U.S. food and medical supplies to Cuba. Based in Washington, DC, AHTC has 25 State Councils across the US, many chaired by Cuban Americans.

U.S. Senate Passes Sanctions Reform But Keeps Cuba Policy in Place

Cuba Embargo Opponents Cut Off at the Pass

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Senate last night ended a months-long debate on U.S. sanctions reform by agreeing to a measure sponsored by Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) that curtails the President's power to include food and medicine in U.S. sanctions efforts if that country is not a promoter of international terrorism. The measure leaves U.S. sanctions against the Castro regime in place.

"The Senate has passed a responsible and serious effort to reconcile the concerns of the U.S. agricultural community who believe they have been unduly affected by the imposition of U.S. sanctions abroad and those who care deeply about this country's national security concerns and the treatment of our enemies abroad," said CANF Chairman Jorge Mas. "We are grateful to Senator Ashcroft for acceding to our concerns that the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro not gain any benefit from the Senate's action."

In negotiations with Sens. Connie Mack, Bob Graham, and Bob Torricelli, and staff from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ashcroft agreed to require licensing for any food and medicine transactions with governments of countries determined by the Secretary of State to have provided support for acts of international terrorism under section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The compromise language also rejects the benefit of federal financing, direct export subsidies, federal guarantees or other federal promotion assistance programs. In addition, quarterly reports to the appropriate Congressional committees are required from the applicable agencies charged with issuing the licenses.

The Ashcroft amendment had been seized upon earlier by opponents of U.S.- Cuba policy as a vehicle to advance their agenda in guise of concern for the dismal situation in farm states seriously affected over the past year by drought and poor market conditions. The compromise language, however, signaled a tacit defeat for anti-embargo ideologues who had attempted to use the genuine concern of farm state senators -- such as Sen. Ashcroft and other traditional allies of the cause of a free Cuba -- to suggest a weakening of the Senate's firm opposition to rogue regimes. In their remarks on the Senate floor, Senators Torricelli, Helms, Graham and Mack cited the need to hold terrorist nations accountable for their crimes, citing the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, the Embassy bombings in Africa last year, and the 1996 shoot down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes by the Cuban government.

The agreement is being hailed as a victory for supporters of sanctions policy. "This Senate action can only be described as another gigantic defeat for the Castro lobby here in the United States. They have been pouring millions of dollars to blow a hole in the embargo in order to allow Castro unfettered access to U.S. taxpayer-funded credits," said Mr. Mas, "The U.S. Senate has once again stood firm on the side of democracy and respect for the human rights of the Cuban people. Let it be clear to Fidel Castro and his terrorist cohorts throughout the world that we will keep constant vigil to cut them off at the pass in their pathetic attempts to weaken U.S. resolve against their illegitimate regimes."

SOURCE Cuban American National Foundation
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