U.S. Congress ratifies blockade against Cuba

News from Cuba | Saturday, 17 December 2011

by Juventud Rebelde

The United States Congress rejected a legislative proposal that would have facilitated the purchase of U.S. goods by Cuba, reported PL.

Leaders in the U.S. Capitol, under pressure from conservative members of Cuban origin, agreed to remove the initiative presented by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, for flexibility of payments, which since 2001 have been made in cash in advance.

According to congressional sources, the Emerson amendment was removed under pressure from the extreme right, as compensation for the removal of a section included in the Budget Act to limit travel and remittances from Cubans living in the United States to their country of origin.

Rep. Jose Serrano, Democrat of New York and a member of the Appropriations Committee of the House, said the restrictions proposed by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart had been the last obstacle in the negotiations on the draft omnibus spending bill of 2012.

Balart's restrictions intended to return to the level established during the administration of George W. Bush, when Cuban-Americans could only travel to the Caribbean nation every three years and send up to 1,200 dollars a year in remittances.

The U.S. Congress certified these resolutions on the final day of discussion about a federal budget bill for 2012. The Cuban issue, inserted by Diaz-Balart, had become an obstacle that was blocking the project analysis.

The Republican majority in the House of Representatives threatened to push on with the paragraphs on Cuba, if both legislative hemicycles did not reach an understanding at the time of approving the final version.

Among those opposing the idea is the Cuban Study Group, composed mainly of businessmen from the island and settled in this country, recalled the news.

Kathy Castor, Democratic congresswoman from Tampa, also called on legislators from her party and the Republican group to eliminate the clause, incorporated last June into a Treasury spending program.

The demand was joined by other supporters of the legislation, approved by President Barack Obama in 2009, to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba, including airlines.

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