Monday, January 21, 2008

Letter published in Sun Sentinel re Democratic candidates

Summary of Democratic candidates' stands on Cuba misses the main point of conflict
January 18, 2008,0,3444871.story

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's summary of Democratic candidates' positions on Cuba is inaccurate and misses the main point of conflict between them.

Barack Obama has called for unrestricted travel and remittances by Cuban-Americans.

John Edwards has agreed with unrestricted travel.

Hillary Clinton supports the harsh once-every-three-years restrictions on family travel imposed by President Bush rather than the annual plus emergency travel permitted by her husband.

None of them has spoken about the non-tourist purposeful travel authorized by President Bill Clinton but largely eliminated in 2004.

When economic and social reforms are being discussed in Cuba, it is a grave error that the United States has eliminated or drastically reduced people-to-people exchanges by world affairs councils, students, professionals, alumni, museums, religious and humanitarian groups, sports teams, etc.

Such visits do not bring the economic benefit to Cuba of large scale tourism but do help diverse American opinion leaders understand better what is really taking place. They also create a more positive atmosphere between our countries, which encourages the process of reform.

John McAuliff

Executive Director, Fund for Reconciliation and Development Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

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