8:08 PM EDT
Joe Moakley, D-MA 9th

Mr. MOAKLEY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from South Carolina for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, our policy prohibiting Americans from visiting Cuba is really a relic of the Cold War. Forty years ago, it might have been a great idea. Today it is not.

My colleagues are offering a great amendment, one that will open dialogue, break down the barriers, and foster understanding.

Mr. Chairman, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost much of its military strength. In 1998, the Defense Department said that Cuba was no longer a threat to national security. I would say to my colleagues, if the Defense Department does not think Cuba is a threat, why can American citizens not visit there? We allow American citizens to travel all over the world; we should certainly allow them to travel 90 miles away to Cuba.

In 1982, the South African government was engaging in the most hideous kind of apartheid, and U.S. citizens were allowed to travel there. In 1988, when communism still existed, the United States citizens were allowed to travel to Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union. Today, when terror still abounds, U.S. [Page: H6696]

citizens are allowed to travel to Syria. Mr. Chairman, the only countries besides Cuba which American citizens are prohibited

from traveling to are Iraq and Libya. I would submit, Mr. Chairman, that we have a lot more reasons to fear Saddam Hussein and Moammar Khadafi than we do Fidel Castro.

History has shown that communism crumbles when exposed to the light of American democracy. Mr. Chairman, let us put the light on Cuba.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.