8:05 PM EDT
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL 18th

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment allows the continuation of an oppressive communist dictatorship who, according to the State Department Human Rights Reports has actually increased its persecution and harassment of human rights dissidents. It denies medical treatment and food to political prisoners; it imprisons anyone at any time for expressing political views and beliefs that run contrary to the communist dictatorship.

This amendment would give the Cuban dictatorship additional funds to host killers of U.S. police officers, cop killers such as Joanne Chesimard who gunned down in cold blood New Jersey State trooper Werner Foerster, or those who murdered New Mexico State trooper James Harper. It would help keep other fugitives of U.S. justice in the lap of luxury, fugitives who are wanted for murder and kidnapping and armed robbery, among other heinous crimes.

This amendment gives funds to a dictatorship that condones the silencing of the opposition in Cuba by a regime which is classified by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the Hemisphere as the worst violator of human rights in all the Western Hemisphere.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment would give funds to enable Castro's intelligence service to expand its espionage in and against the United States. After all, they suffered a severe blow in 1998 when one of their spy rings was discovered by the FBI for their penetration of U.S. military bases, an action which threatened U.S. national security.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment would help support a regime who has sent special agents to Vietnam to help torture American POWs.

The only ones who will benefit from this amendment are the Castro brothers and their band of thugs who use violence and terror to hold on to power. They trample on the human rights and civil liberties of its citizens.

This amendment tells the Castro regime that it is okay for the regime to hold hostage the children of constituents in my district such as Jose Cohen, a Cuban refugee who escaped from prison 5 years ago. It tells the Castro regime that the 9-year-old daughter of Milagros Cruz Cano, a blind human rights dissident who escaped from Castro's gulag last November, is the property of the regime and she will not be allowed to be reunited with her mother here in the United States.

This amendment would give money to this regime, and the supporters must understand, as the Fraternal Order of Police has stated, that attempts to normalize relations with Fidel Castro and, they say, the American people and the Fraternal Order of Police do not feel that we must compromise our system of justice and the very fabric of our society to foreign dictators like Fidel Castro.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.