News and Facts about Cuba

Obama hands Cuba’s Castros a major victory, but Congress can still stop it

Obama hands Cuba’s Castros a major victory, but Congress can still stop it
By Mike GonzalezPublished December 17, 2014

Establishing ties with Cuba has been on Obama’s bucket list
for some time. care — done. Amnesty for immigrants —
done. Cuba — next. This last one also has the added bonus point that it
puts him right with the international left, which lionizes Castro.

And the president will go on picking off the next items on the bucket
list for the next two years of his term unless Congress decides to stop
him. Should they work up the gumption, lawmakers will find they can do
many things to stand up for the prerogatives of the legislative branch.

Obviously, the release of the 65-year-old American hostage Alan
should be welcome. His “crime” was to bring computers to Jews on the
island. For the last five years, he has been a victim of Cuba’s state
terrorism, just as 11 million Cubans have been held hostage by their
government for the past five decades.

Not only does President Obama’s action fail to advance in Cuba,
it throws a lifeline to Cuba’s dictators.
Exchanging three hardened Cuban spies for Gross, however, establishes an
insulting moral and legal equivalency. The spies actions led to the
death of an American in the 1990s, and they were duly convicted. Their
release in exchange for Gross creates an incentive for rogue regimes and
individual actors to kidnap Americans all over the world.

Not only does President Obama’s action fail to advance freedom in Cuba,
it throws a lifeline to Cuba’s dictators, whose current supplier of
funds, , is on the ropes because of plunging oil prices. It
surrenders to the demands for normalization that the Castros have been
making for decades.

So what can Congress do?

Right off the bat, Congress must make it crystal clear to President
Obama that he lacks the authority to lift the on Cuba, allow
trade to take place between the two nations, let tourists to go to Cuba
to bail out the regime or give Cuba have access to capital markets. U.S.
law—the Helms-Burton Act of 1996—gives the Congress power to override
any action taken by the executive to lift the embargo.

In order to lift the embargo, the Cuban government would have to give
the Cuban people a number of rights—of association, speech, political
activity, etc.—that President Obama obviously failed to secure in his
45-minute conversation with Cuban Tuesday.

Congress can also make clear to the president that there are statutory
criteria that must be met before his administration can take Cuba off
the State Department list of terrorism sponsors. The president must
inform Congress that there has been a change of leadership and policies
of the Cuban government and that Castro has given assurances that it
will no longer support terrorist acts. Can President Obama do any of that?

Senators should also make clear that they will put a hold on any
ambassador that Mr. Obama nominates to serve in Cuba unless he can
guarantee that the Cuban government is no longer a threat to the United
States and has decided to grant freedom to people in Cuba. Sen. Marco
Rubio, R-Fla., has already said he plans to do that.

Additionally, Congress can look into the possibility of using policy
riders in the upcoming DHS appropriations debate in February and the
Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations process to deny the president funds for
setting up relations.

Congress must act because President Obama has been completely feckless
in his entire approach to Cuba. He received nothing in exchange for many
substantial concessions made to the Communist regime. After five years
of “negotiations” President Obama ended exactly where Raul Castro’s
demands began five years ago. As Senator Marco Rubio said, President
“Obama is the worst negotiator since Carter.”

Mr. Obama’s statement was filled with Havana’s communist talking points,
such as affirming that Cubans are poor and unfree because of the
embargo, or that Cuba was a U.S. colony. None of that is true, and yet
Mr. Obama said it.

Congress must act to limit the damage inherent in this Havana Giveaway.
Left unchecked, Obama will simply move on to the next misguided item on
his bucket list.

A native of Cuba, Mike Gonzalez escaped the Castro regime at age 12. He
is a senior fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for
International Studies and the author of “A Race for the Future” How
Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.”

Source: Obama hands Cuba’s Castros a major victory, but Congress can
still stop it | Fox News –

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