DODD UNVEILS COMPREHENSIVE CUBA POLICY IN MIAMI
Calls for Revoking Trade Embargo, Travel Restrictions, Building a Relationship with Cuba
For Immediate Release
September 8, 2007
Hari Sevugan Cell - (312) 203-2207 Office - (202) 737-DODD (3633)
Colleen Flanagan Cell - (202) 744-7290 Office - (202) 737-DODD (3633)
MIAMI - Calling for broad, sweeping reforms to America's policy toward Cuba, Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd today unveiled his comprehensive Cuba policy in Miami, FL. Dodd, who has long led the fight to reform policy in Cuba, said that now is the time to reform our nation's Cuba policy, and that the current system has only served to strengthen Castro's regime.
"Our Cuba policy has neither served America's interests nor brought democracy to Cuba. It has only served to strengthen the current regime. It has been an abject failure," said Dodd. "I am proposing these changes to the current policy because they make sense and are the right thing to do - for the Cuban people, but more importantly for America. And I refuse to let Fidel Castro or his successor determine the timetable for setting America's policy. Setting America's policy is for the American President to decide."
Dodd's plan would end the trade embargo by repealing the Helms-Burton Act, open Cuban markets to American farmers, bring families closer together by lifting travel restrictions and caps on remittances, and open an American Embassy in Havana to serve Americans and American interests while engaging Cuba in robust diplomacy.
Dodd's plan comes in advance of the first Spanish language presidential debate, which will be held on Sunday, September 9th at the University of Miami. Dodd spent two years in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer where he served in a small rural community and became fluent in Spanish.
THE BOLDNESS TO OPEN NEW DOORS IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA
Chris Dodd believes that the time has come to open a new era in our relationship with Cuba and put an end to a failed policy that has neither served America's interests nor brought democracy to Cuba. After fifty years of limiting Americans' right to travel freely and visit their families, restricting the access of our farmers to Cuban markets, and damaging America's standing in the world, Chris Dodd believes this is a moment for Presidential leadership and bold ideas. At this critical moment in Cuba's changing political landscape, Chris Dodd refuses to let America wait on the sidelines while the future of one of our closest neighbors is determined by others. He understands the transformative power of engagement, as well as exposure to Americans and American values, is far greater than that of a failed policy of isolation.
THE DODD RECORD: PROVEN LEADERSHIP IN REACHING OUT TO CUBA
Chris Dodd has led the fight to reverse fifty years of failed policy toward Cuba. Fluent in Spanish, no Presidential candidate brings more credibility or proven leadership to promoting democracy throughout the western hemisphere through diplomacy, dialog and strength than Chris Dodd.
? Dodd Led the Fight Against the Expansion and Tightening of the Cuba Embargo. In 1992, Chris Dodd led the fight against the Cuba Democracy Act, which was the first major legislative initiative to codify in law sanctions against Cuba which were implemented by executive order under the Trading with the Enemy Act. This law includes controversial provisions that prohibit foreign vessels from entering US waters if they had been in Cuban ports within the previous 180 days; that prohibit foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations from doing business in Cuba, and that impose civil and criminal penalties on those that continued to do so. As a consequence of this policy, the Associated Press noted that "the United States stands virtually alone" among the international community regarding Cuba.
? Dodd Led the Opposition to the Helms-Burton Legislation to Codify the Cuba Embargo. In 1996, Chris Dodd led the fight in the Senate against Helms-Burton, a law that extended the U.S. embargo against Cuba, requiring additional U.S. sanctions on countries that assist Cuba, limiting presidential authority to lift or modify the embargo, and prohibiting the U.S from engaging at the earliest possible moment in any ongoing transition to democracy in Cuba.
? Dodd Spearheaded Efforts to Ease Restrictions on the Sale of Food and Medicine to Cuba. In 1999, Chris Dodd authored the Cuban Food and Medicine Security Act that sought to ease restrictions on the sale of food and medicines to Cuba. In addition, Dodd supported an effort to open U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba that did not harm U.S. security interests and that Cuba could otherwise obtain elsewhere.
THE DODD AGENDA: A BOLD VISION FOR OPENING DOORS AND BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO CUBA
Chris Dodd believes that ending our failed Cuba policy makes sense and is the right thing to do - for America and the Cuban people. By taking bold steps to remove barriers to trade and telecommunications and to increase diplomatic efforts, Chris Dodd believes America can help usher in a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba that benefits everyone.
As President, Chris Dodd will:
? End the Cuba Trade Embargo by Repealing the Helms-Burton Act. By seeking the repeal of the Helms-Burton Act, Chris Dodd will begin to unravel and remove the onerous restrictions that have prevented the United States from playing a meaningful economic and diplomatic role in the ongoing political transition in Cuba.
? Open New Markets for American Farmers by Amending the Trade Sanctions Reform Act. By amending the Trade Sanctions Reform Act, Chris Dodd will remove restrictions on Americans' rights to travel to Cuba and American farmers' ability to more easily access Cuban markets.
? Bring Families Closer Together by Lifting Travel Restrictions and Caps on Remittances. By eliminating the caps on remittances and lifting all travel restrictions to Cuba, Chris Dodd will ensure Cuban-Americans can visit and assist their families overseas. Chris Dodd will also ensure more families can afford to stay in touch by authorizing telecommunications companies to lower prices for Cuban-American telephone and Internet services.
? Open an American Embassy in Havana and Engage Cuba in Robust Diplomacy. As President, Chris Dodd will instruct the Secretary of State to authorize our diplomats to meet more regularly with their Cuban counterparts at all levels and open an embassy in Havana to better serve Americans and American interests in Cuba.
? Reinvigorate the US/Cuba Migration Agreement Bilateral Talks. Unlike the Bush Administration, Chris Dodd will resume using the Migration Agreement as a forum to discuss outstanding bilateral issues of interest to both Cuba and the United States.
? Shut Down TV Marti and Reform Radio Marti. Chris Dodd believes American taxpayers should not be asked to spend millions annually on a television station that virtually no one in Cuba can see. He would also reform Radio Marti to provide objective news and entertainment instead of programming that often runs counter to stated U.S. policy. Instead of a failed government subsidized propaganda campaign, Chris Dodd believes in the transformative power of engagement and would promote an agenda that encourages exposure to Americans and American values.
? Remove the Incentive for Dangerous Migration and Repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act. Chris Dodd believes this law has only encouraged Cuban migrants to risk their lives at sea and fall prey to international smuggling organizations by offering them the promise of gaining legal resident status here in the United States.
? Encourage American Business and Repeal the Cuba Democracy Act. By eliminating the law that prohibits US companies from doing business in Cuba, imposes penalties on foreign subsidiaries of American companies that do so, and prohibits foreign vessels who have visited Cuban ports from entering U.S. waters, Chris Dodd will permit US companies to do business in Cuba, and remove major irritants to our relations with other friendly governments who have continued to trade and have relations with Cuba.
? Negotiate Regularly Scheduled Flights to Cuba. Presently, there is no regular mail or regularly scheduled air service between Cuba and the United States. Chris Dodd will enhance communication between the United States and the Cuban people by working to establish mail and air service between the United States and Cuba.