U.S. Senate Closer to Financing Cuba's Tyranny - UPDATED
Utterly disregarding the impact on U.S. tourism and the Castro tyranny's continued assault on the most basic human rights of Cubans, the U.S. Senate is inching closer to passing what is known as S. 428 or The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. This law would prohibit President Obama from preventing the travel of (non Cuban) U.S. citizens and residents to Cuba, unless he were to veto it.
"Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act - Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel..."Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota claims a mayority of 60 U.S. Senators support its passage, and the following 39 are public about it (34 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 1 Independent):
John Barrasso [R-WY], Max Baucus [D-MT],Michael Bennet [D-CO] (withdrawn), Jeff Bingaman [D-NM], Barbara Boxer [D-CA], Roland Burris [D-IL], Robert Byrd [D-WV], Maria Cantwell [D-WA], Benjamin Cardin [D-MD], Thomas Carper [D-DE], Susan Collins [R-ME], Kent Conrad [D-ND], Michael Crapo [R-ID], Christopher Dodd [D-CT], Byron Dorgan [D-ND], Richard Durbin [D-IL], Michael Enzi [R-WY], Russell Feingold [D-WI], Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] , Al Franken [D-MN], Kay Hagan [D-NC], Thomas Harkin [D-IA], Tim Johnson [D-SD], John Kerry [D-MA], Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Mary Landrieu [D-LA], Patrick Leahy [D-VT], Carl Levin [D-MI], Blanche Lincoln [D-AR], Richard Lugar [R-IN], Claire McCaskill [D-MO], Patty Murray [D-WA], Mark Pryor [D-AR], John Reed [D-RI], Bernard Sanders [I-VT], Jon Tester [D-MT], Mark Udall [D-CO], Tom Udall [D-NM], Jim Webb [D-VA], Ron Wyden [D-OR]The travel legislation is now being considered in various sub-committees, including the one that oversees human rights. Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA], known for her support of ´progressive´ causes, is the Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee and is therefore likely to support it. She is also 1 of 11 on the Foreign Relations Subcommittee.
Like Senator Boxer, Senators Kerry, Lugar and Barrasso are supporters of the bill and the 4 are on both the Foreign Relations and Human Rights subcommittees. Supporters such as Sen. Russell and Sen. Dodd are also on the Foreign Relations Subcommittee. Thus, at least a 6-5 majority in the Foreign Relations subcommittee supports it.
U.S. tourists should be putting their money where it will bring good, not evil, to themselves and their neighbors.
Wouldn't it be ethical (unlike this bill) and also far better for the U.S. economy, if U.S. tourists spent their money in Florida, Puerto Rico or Hawaii? Wouldn't $2 billion of tourist expenditures in a U.S. tourist destination be the real win win? Why then are the foregoing senators working so hard to increase tourism for Castro? Do they prefer that US Tourists spend their money in Cuba instead? Why? Why are they obsessed with diverting Caribbean bound tourists from Puerto Rico and Florida to Cuba?
I don't notice the senators from Hawaii and Florida, or the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico backing a bill that would potentially deprive them of income from at least 1 million tourists annually, in order to give it to a tyrant. Aren't the senators aware that tourism has been decreasing in all of these areas? Of course they are. Just this month, on March 4, President Obama signed a bill to promote tourism in the U.S.
"Obama said there is no better country to visit than the United States ...flanked by lawmakers from Nevada and other tourism states.Yet the foregoing list of Senators are joining hands to push a bill that diverts US tourists to Cuba's tyranny instead.
"The bill enjoyed bipartisan support and has been pushed since the country experienced a precipitous decline in overseas visitors after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The travel industry estimates that more than 600,000 fewer overseas visitors are coming to the country, contributing to economic losses...
"The bill is expected to create 40,000 jobs nationwide in the first year."
At least the Senators could have been thinking of helping Haiti develop a tourist industry. Haiti is receiving massive U.S. assistance and its people need jobs, right? How about investing to build Haiti's tourism infrastructure? Why aren't the senators spending the time allocated to Cuba Travel for Americans, to a bill that would create incentives for U.S. tourism investments in Haiti? Imagine the good that could bring. Wouldn't the American people prefer that over financing a tyranny? Where are the 'Promote Travel to Haiti' or 'Haiti Tourism' bills? I don't see them here. Wouldn't working on a bill like that for Haiti also help compensate for $700 million in disaster assistance, in addition to helping it become self sustaining?
Americans who don't agree with financing tyranny should write to their senator now, even if he/she is not on the foregoing list.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 27, 2010
The Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives may vote on the latter's version of this bill, H.R. 4645, this coming Wednesday, September 27. The House version is sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson [D-MN]. If you don´t agree with financing and resuscitating the moribund Castro tyranny with U.S. tourist dollars or diverting Florida's, Hawaii's and Puerto Rico's tourism to Cuba, fax or email your Congressman without delay. The names of the 10 Republicans and 66 Democrats co sponsoring this initiative at the U.S. House of Representatives are as follows: :
Rodney Alexander [R-LA5],Tammy Baldwin [D-WI2], Howard Berman [D-CA28], Robert Berry [D-AR1], Judy Biggert [R-IL13], Sanford Bishop [D-GA2], Timothy Bishop [D-NY1], John, Boozman [R-AR3], Leonard Boswell [D-IA3], Frederick Boucher [D-VA9], Charles Boustany [R-LA7], Bobby Bright [D-AL2], Michael Capuano [D-MA8], André Carson [D-IN7]
Travis Childers [D-MS1], Jim Costa [D-CA20], Lincoln Davis [D-TN4], William Delahunt [D-MA10], Rosa DeLauro [D-CT3], Michael Doyle [D-PA14], Thomas Edwards [D-TX17], Keith Ellison [D-MN5], Brad Ellsworth [D-IN8], Jo Ann Emerson [R-MO8], Anna Eshoo [D-CA14],Sam Farr [D-CA17], Jeff Flake [R-AZ6], Al Green [D-TX9], Raul Grijalva [D-AZ7], Stephanie Herseth Sandlin [D-SD], Baron Hill [D-IN9], Maurice Hinchey [D-NY22], Tim Holden [D-PA17], Michael Honda [D-CA15], Jesse Jackson [D-IL2], Eddie Johnson [D-TX30], Henry Johnson [D-GA4], Timothy Johnson [R-IL15], Walter Jones [R-NC3], Steve Kagen [D-WI8], Ronald Kind [D-WI3], Rick Larsen [D-WA2],Barbara Lee [D-CA9], David Loebsack [D-IA2], Carolyn Maloney [D-NY14], Edward Markey [D-MA7]
Eric Massa [D-NY29], Jim Matheson [D-UT2], Doris Matsui [D-CA5], Betty McCollum [D-MN4], James McGovern [D-MA3], Walter Minnick [D-ID1], James Moran [D-VA8], Jerry Moran [R-KS1], James Oberstar [D-MN8], John Olver [D-MA1], Solomon Ortiz [D-TX27], Ronald Paul [R-TX14], Chellie Pingree [D-ME1], Jared Polis [D-CO2], Earl Pomeroy [D-ND], Laura Richardson [D-CA37], Mike Ross [D-AR4], Bobby Rush [D-IL1], Timothy Ryan [D-OH17], Janice Schakowsky [D-IL9], David Scott [D-GA13], José Serrano [D-NY16]
Victor Snyder [D-AR2], John Spratt [D-SC5], John Tanner [D-TN8], Gene Taylor[D-MS4], Edolphus Towns [D-NY10], Timothy Walz [D-MN1], Maxine Waters [D-CA35], Lynn Woolsey [D-CA6]
UPDATED ON SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 HERE
TOURISM IN FLORIDA, HAWAII AND PUERTO RICO:
Hawaii - Tourism went down to 6.5 million visitors, or 4.5 %, in 2009.
Puerto Rico Occupancy rates are down to a mere 66%, and in 2009 there were 1.8 million tourists, 200K less than in 2006.
Florida's tourist visits decreased by 3.4% to 18.1 million visitors in the last quarter of 2009.
From which of these are the (at least) 1 million tourists to Cuba going to be taken from?
NOTE ON GOOGLE'S IDEA OF RELEVANCE:
Yesterday, March 27, one could hardly find this post if one entered 'Cuba' in Google's blog. Yet, if one entered ' Cuba travel' it was ranked number 1 in relevance most of the day.
On March 28 one cannot find it even among the first 5 pages after entering 'Cuba travel', but the others that were behind it are right there. It's unclear what relevance means to Google if it can vanish instantly. Any ideas?
I think I may have figured part of what 'relevancy' means to Google, with respect to Cuba.
Now the 4th most relevant post on Cuba and 12th most relevant on Cuba Travel is Top Resorts in Varadero, Cuba, by Cheap Mommy.
Google's number one ranked blog post for Cuba today is HAITI Signs MOU with Cuba and Brazil Regarding Public Health Programs. It supposedly quotes Haiti's president but one cannot distinguish what he declared from what the post's author added, for the quotes are not even closed, and the subject of the supposed quote is not even quoted! This is it:
He celebrated the fact that Haiti can also count on Brazil’s collaboration, and noted that despite a 50-year-old blockade, Cuba “has always been willing to help. So this time, it will use Brazil’s resources and expertise to continue that work.The author then added that Haiti's president supposedly also declared having heard someone say “Cuban doctors were after God”.
Frivolousness and Cheap Communist Propaganda is what relevancy means to Google, with respect to Cuba.
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