Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
End Cuba travel ban dead if GOP win
Why? Because Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is poised to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee if the GOP takes control of the House. This vitriolic anti-Castroite, pro-embargo Cuban-American legislator promises to be a throwback to the gloomy days when Senator Jesse Helms headed the Senate's equivalent Committee. (Helms, of course, gave us the nonsensical The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, aka Helms–Burton Law, which among its myriad of negative provisions, codified the U.S. embargo – which at the time was merely an “executive order” – into law.)
As Chair, Ros-Lehtinen would be in an enhanced position to influence U.S. policy on Cuba through her position among the House leadership's inner circle. (In 1989, she became the first Cuban American, and the first Hispanic woman, elected to Congress. Her campaign manager was then-President George Bush’s son Jeb Bush, later to be Governor of Florida.)
I’m immensely saddened by the possibility that the GOP will retake the House and scupper all the efforts made in the past two years towards lifting the unconstitutional restrictions on U.S. citizens’ right to travel to Cuba.
Talk about a reversal! Pro-freedom-to-travel advocates came within a hair’s-breadth of getting the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act onto the House floor for a vote last month. The current chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, California Democrat Howard Berman, is a longtime advocate for reforming Cuba policy. However, Berman decided to drop the bill on the very eve – literally! – of the recess of Congress two weeks ago.
Ros-Lehtinen, who was Born in Havana in 1952 (she came to the USA in 1959 when her parents fled the Cuban Revolution), has a take-no-prisoners approach to debate on any opening to Cuba, which she opposes with bulldog tenacity. Along the way she seems to have lost her moral compass. She has supported terrorists such as Cuban exile Orlando Bosch Ávila , (who was convicted of various terrorist acts; Ros-Lehtinen lobbied for his pardon and release) and Luis Posada, who like Bosch, is accused of involvement in the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, which killed all 73 passengers.
Although several countries seek Bosch's extradition, he remains free in the United States, much thanks to the political pressure used by Ros-Lehtinen, who has even called for Castro to be assassinated. Er, note to Florida’s Miami-Dade country Rep... assassination is illegal! ("Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." Executive Order 12333, issued December. 4, 1981, by President Ronald Reagan.)
The GOP needs 39 seats to regain the House.
For further information about travel in Cuba, buy Moon Cuba
For further information on Havana, buy Moon Spotlight Havana.
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker