ATRIP-USA*Engage Alliance Lauds Passage Of Amendment to Curb Unreasonable Cuba Restrictions

Thursday, 8 July 2004

"It heartens us to know that lawmakers see the flaws in further clamping down on the Cuban people who most suffer from Castro's regime," said ATRIP-USA*Engage Alliance Executive Director Jody Frisch. "The new regulations implemented by the Department of Commerce do nothing to enhance national security, or to deprive the Cuban regime of resources. Instead, the restrictions essentially prevent Cuban Americans from sending items like toothpaste and soap to their family members. Placing these punitive measures on Cuban citizens is inhumane and inconsistent with established principles of U.S. foreign policy and fundamental American family values. Yesterday's passage of the amendment to de-fund these regulations is a step in the right direction and we strongly urge Congress as a whole to support this amendment that would overturn these unreasonable restrictions."

Recently adopted Department of Commerce regulations further limit items Cuban Americans can send to their relatives in Cuba and restrict the amount of baggage Cuban Americans may take with them to Cuba. These regulations prevent Cuban Americans from supplying their families with much needed basic necessities.

New regulations:

" Prohibit gifts of clothing and personal hygiene items (including such basic goods as soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste);

" Redefine the "family" to immediate relatives only, excluding aunts, uncles, or cousins;

" Limit gifts to one per household per month, versus one per individual family member per month; and

" Limit the amount of baggage for Cuban Americans traveling to Cuba to 44 pounds.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at www.usaengage.org.