|8:15 PM EDT||
Bob Menendez, D-NJ 13th
Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Sanford amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I would tell the gentleman, I take offense to the gentleman's statement that in fact three congressional districts, that supposedly we are working on behalf of our congressional districts, three congressional districts driving policy.
That would be the equivalent of saying that Irish American Members of this House who promote peace and justice in northern Ireland are driving that policy, or that Jewish Members of this House are driving the policy on the Middle East, or that African-American Members of this House who believe very passionately about the need to invoke and engage in Africa are driving that policy.
I reject that view. I find it distasteful.
Let me say that I hope to hear from some of our colleagues about human [Page: H6697]
rights, about democracy, about the hundreds of prisoners in Castro's jails. They are very eloquent in other parts of the world. They are silent as it relates to Cuba.
Twelve types of travel are now permitted under existing law. Thousands are going to Cuba for legitimate media, cultural exchanges, academic, and religious purposes. This provision would actually create a set of circumstances where Americans, because the law would not be changed, Americans would have to otherwise travel to Cuba who can travel to Cuba legally; under these licenses, they would now have to choose between traveling illegally or not going at all.
I do not believe that sunning one's buns on the beaches, I do not believe that sipping rum at the bar, I do not believe that smoking cigars or that the poor slave labor at the Hotel Nacional ultimately promotes freedom, democracy, and human rights. That is, in essence, what we are doing, throwing an economic lifeline to Castro.