SHIPMENTS TO CUBA - Mitch Perry

07/08/04

Yesterday, a caravan of vehicles carrying 100 tons of goods crossed into Mexico from Texas, ultimately bound for Cuba in a show of civil disobedience toward the U.S. embargo of the communist-run island. It is the 15th year the Pastors for Peace humanitarian organization has delivered food, medicine and equipment to Cuba, but this year's trip comes as the Bush administration has toughened travel restrictions to put pressure on Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Pastors for Peace is an arm of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, whose mission is to help forward the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination. WMNF was unable to reach any members of the Caravan, but this was the message that was on The Pastors For Peace phone system today (roll tape#1 o.q. “on the Internet for more news�) Their website is ifconews.org…. Meanwhile, Last night, the House of Representatives voted to overturn the Bush Administration's new regulations prohibiting Cuban-Americans from mailing critical supplies to their family members in Cuba and limiting the amount of personal baggage carried by travelers to Cuba.

By a vote of 221 to 194, the House passed an amendment offered by Representatives Davis, and and 3 other Congressmembers …… The amendment prohibits the Commerce Department from using funds to implement the Administration's new rule forbidding Cuban-Americans from mailing clothing, personal hygiene items, seeds, fishing supplies, soap-making equipment and veterinary medicines to their family members in Cuba. This rule, which went into effect on June 30 th, also limits the recipients of these gift parcels to immediate family members by barring Cuban-Americans from sending basic necessities to their aunts, uncles and cousins in Cuba.

AND the amendment would prohibit the use of funds for the Administration's new rule that travelers to Cuba can only bring 44 pounds of luggage.

WMNF spoke with Congressman Jim Davis today…We asked him what the chances of his bill getting thru the Senate, and thus overturning the President’s regulations. (roll tape#2 o.q. “suffering in Cuba�)

The New regulations promulgated by the President were designed to appeal to Anti-Castro Exiles in South Florida, but whether they hurt or help him politically is unclear.

In March, a poll conducted at Florida International University poll, showed that only 56 percent of the state's Cuban-Americans planned to vote for Bush in November, with 25 percent undecided.

While undoubtadley the majority will support the President come November, even a shift of a few percentage points could tip the balance in Florida in a close race.

Tampa Congressman Jim Davis explains how these laws came to be as of July 1st, and why he thinks the President should now realize his mistake, and correct it in due course (roll tape#3 o.q.�detrimental to families�)

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