8:18 PM EDT
Benjamin Arthur Gilman, R-NY 20th

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding time to me.

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. SANFORD) is a distinguished member of our Committee on International Relations for whom I have the highest regard. However, I find it necessary to oppose his amendment.

This Sanford amendment would make enforcement of travel restrictions to Cuba virtually impossible. The travel restrictions themselves would not be lifted. People who violated law would still be subject to criminal penalties.

Furthermore, this amendment would end the Treasury Department's ability to issue case-by-case licenses for travel to Cuba, as is now permitted under existing regulations. People who wanted to travel to Cuba legally for purposes that we all support would not be able to get licenses. In effect, the amendment would prevent law-abiding people from visiting Cuba.

The net effect of this amendment would be to encourage people to break the law. We must not send that kind of a message, particularly not to our Nation's young people.

This is particularly true when our fundamental quarrel with Fidel is that he refuses to allow the rule of law in Cuba. The Castro government refuses to take the steps that would permit us to lift the provisions of our embargo: freeing political prisoners, permitting opposition political parties, freeing labor unions to organize, and scheduling free, fair, internationally supervised elections.

With all due respect to my good friend, the gentleman from South Carolina, I urge our colleagues to oppose this amendment.